There are 743 Covid-19 positive cases including priests, outsourced and regular workers, those part of the special protection force (SPF), vigilance department, maintenance teams and sanitation workers of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD). Yet the TTD has no plans to shut down the temple for pilgrims.
Surprisingly the cases count jumped seven times in the last one month i.e, from July 10th to August 9th. Interestingly after reopening the temples i.e, on June 11th after two and half months of shutdown, TTD has posted 91 cases till July 10th. But in the last one month, the cases have piled up like anything.
TTD has roughly 22,000 employees and slightly over 9000 people have undergone the Covid-19 tests. Out of the 743 cases, 402 have recovered while 338 are undergoing treatment. The TTD has converted two of its guest houses into Covid-19 treatment hospitals and all the TTD infected employees are getting treated there.
Despite such an alarming situation, TTD doesn’t want to stop the darshan and this is inviting criticism that TTD’s intentions are only to make money. However, the TTD officials have rubbished these claims.
TTD executive officer Anil Singhal said, “TTD is spending more on managing the temple with utmost precautions for the safety of the devotees than what it is receiving in donations. Right now, the cost of managing the temple is higher than what the devotees are giving. We want to clarify that we did not open the temple for income.”
The TTD officer further said so far not even a single devotee has been tested positive of the virus. It’s only the employees who are getting infected because they keep moving from one place to another.