Around 743 employees of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) have tested positive for COVID-19, as per officials of TTD. So far, three of the infected employees have succumbed to COVID-19. Among those infected, 402 employees have already recovered from the disease.
The Tirumala Temple, operated by TTD, had recently re-opened on June 11 after a long nationwide lockdown that was in place to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
With a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases among the employees of TTD, their workers’ union along with senior police official and former chief priest had advised TTD to close the temple for public.
In spite of the advice, TTD had continued to allow people to visit the temple and claimed that the visitors were safe from the infection since all precautions were in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Recently, former chief priest of TTD Srinivasa Dikshitulu passed away after testing positive for COVID-19.
“Some people are accusing us of keeping the temple open for income. But right now, the cost of managing the temple is higher than the income we get from devotees. I want to clarify that we did not open the temple for income. Cases are increasing across the state, it is not just because the temple has been kept open, like the perception prevailing in social media,” said EO Singhal on allegations of TTD keeping Tirupati Temple open for devotees to maintain income.
Singhal added that the temple was opened on the request of devotees and entry was only allowed after following strict COVID-19 prevention measures.
The story first appeared at The News Minute.