Mumbai: Even as the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana tackle issues cropping up after the bifurcation, a ‘religious’ administrative issue has reached the house of law.
According to authorities, Hyderabad’s famed Chilukur Balaji temple has filed a petition seeking a high court directive to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) to pay Rs 1,000 crore dues to temples in Telangana.
After taking up the hearing for the petition, the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad called for a report from the TTD, the Andhra Pradesh Endowments Department and the Telangana government within three weeks.
Chilukur temple’s head priest (and trustee) Dr MV Soundararajan told Mirror, “TTD has been evading payment of seven per cent of its annual income to the endowment administration fund and five per cent of its income to the common good fund. As per our calculation, the amount due is Rs 1,000 crore.”
The head priest said the legal battle was initiated after the concerned people had exhausted the first option of representing the matter to the temple. “We have written to the TTD but failed to get reply from it. Hence the legal course,” he said.
Section 30 of the AP Endowments Act (as amended in 1987) vests on the TTD the responsibility of helping small temples in the undivided Andhra Pradesh by contributing a total of 12 per cent (seven per cent for administration and five per cent common good fund) of its annual revenue. The TTD’s budget this year has touched Rs 2,700 crore.
According to Soundararajan, the TTD stopped has stopped paying the 12 per cent amount since 2002. Thus, a total of Rs 2,700 crore dues have accumulated.
Following a division as per the 58:42 formula, Telangana is to get Rs 1000 crore, he explained. Soundararajan said temples with poor income in Telangana are totally dependent on the support from the TTD for their routine and to propagate Hindu Dharma.
However, a TTD official said, “The calculations are hyped. We will respond to the court notices.” AP and Telangana have approximately 13,000 and 11,000 temples respectively.