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ENS | Tirupati | Jan 2, 2017:: Turning the words of Ramanujacharya, Narayana Guru and Mahatma Gandhi into a reality, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has embarked on a mission to train and appoint over 500 SC and ST youths as priests in its temples.As part of the mission, the TTD is constructing 500 temples in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and simultaneously training the youth belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in conduct of temple rituals. The SC and ST youth will be equipped to perform all the temple rituals such as Ganapati Puja, Sankalpam, Panchopacharalu, Shodashopacharams, Ashtotharam and other things, which are the basic duties of a priest.
After lengthy discussions, the TTD prepared a module for training which provides a comprehensive and perfect system of pooja and maintenance of the temple along with the community participation. The TTD will also utilise their services outside as and when needed.
The TTD launched the scheme in 2016 and allocated `25 crore for construction of 500 temples in SC and ST colonies at a cost of `5 lakh each. At the same time, the TTD decided to train the interested SC and ST youths as priests at Sri Venkateswara Employees Training Academy (SVETA) under a government-approved module for a month in residential system. Mukteswara Rao, a retired IAS officer, and TTD project officers are overseeing its implementation.
Chenchu Subbaiah is the course coordinator. There are also 15 faculty members who conduct the training programme. The TTD has so far constructed temples in 155 hamlets. The SC and ST youths are performing puja rituals in the newly constructed temples. Construction of another 37 temples is in progress. “Construction of 200 temples is our target for 2018. The TTD is ready to take up construction of temples in SC and ST colonies if it receives applications from the residents in this regard,” JEO P Bhaskar said. Samarasata Sewa Foundation is assisting the TTD in construction of temples.
HC seeks report on SVBC issue
The Hyderabad High Court has recently directed the endowments commissioner of AP and TTD EO to inform the status of the enquiry on a representation made alleging financial irregularities and irregular appointments in Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC). A division bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan was dealing with a PIL filed by P Naveen Kumar Reddy from Chittoor seeking directions to the AP government and the TTD to take appropriate action on the representation made by him in November last year. The matter is expected to come up for hearing on Tuesday.