Interview of TTD EO Sri M Giridhara Gopal to TTD.News

Enhancing Devotional environment@Tirumala-EO Gopal

  • To make Tirumala totally secure and crime free
  • Devotional environment enhance devotes waiting experience
  • Promoting Srivari Seva as TTD’s strong arm
  • Environment protection to avert Uttarkhand repetition@Tirumala

Tirumala, October 13: The TTD will focus on making the devotees waiting experience rich, purposeful and spiritual, says the TTD Executive officer, Sri M G Gopal.

‘Every devotee is anxious and anguished over his darshan of Lord Venkateswara even when it is just a few seconds or minutes and it is the TTD’s mission to provide him an spiritually and devotional environment to forget his woes ‘he says .

He says administering TTD is just like a perennial crisis management. There is a never a dull moment and never a day without crowds to handle and mouths to feed and VIPs to receive. ‘There are no lean months in TTD or Tirumala at all. We have only lean days –Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but since last few months they (lean days) are also becoming normally crowded ‘’ says the EO.

Sri Gopal said that the just concluded Brahmotsavam was a grand success in spite of the agitations and snags in transport services and power crisis. ‘TTD rose to occasion by providing meals and shelter to stranded pilgrims at Tirupati when there was total bandh for four days in two stretches .We could not provide transport to thousands and so we did the other best thing ‘he says.

Besides developing the S V Museum into a role model of religious and spiritual environment the EO who has taken charge of the TTD only few months ago says in a special interview with the TTD News that he willnot try to change any traditions. ‘My predecessors have set refined traditions and all I have to ensure is that they are followed properly ‘.He said the TTD had excellent system of checks and balances to account for Lord Venkateswara assets,incomes, functioning of the temple rituals and employees welfare that his motto is only to keep them in refurbished and active mode.

Explaining as to how the Tirumala is never bereft of people and donations from devotees, Sri Gopal says that devotees plan their trip tirupati and also budget it as an annual event and hence the bond between Lord Venkateswara and the Bhagavathars (common devotees) is so strong that they will come for his blessings in spite of all hardships’.

VIPs are not our bread and butter but Bhagavathars are and hence the endeavour of TTD is to facilitate that bond to grow and flourish with affordable accommodation, laddu prasadam and tonsuring and also meals. As the numbers and visits keep growing the only tough task of the TTD is on how to keep the infrastructure ready spick and span for receiving them and ensure that they get what they expected from us, he says.

The EO says that focus of TTD will be to develop and shape up the Srivari Seva, the voluntary force which has emerged over years into a formidable and a dependable force to function as vigilantes of the TTD administration. ‘We are planning to put up a separate complex at a cost of Rs.70 crore and also formulate special training and briefing modules every day so that they become our brand ambassadors and also eyes and ears of the system ‘he says. Now about 4000 Srivari Sevaks are roped in Lord’s service at Tirumala and Tirupati on a daily basis.

Sri Gopal says that other task is to make Tirumala crime free and accident free. I am happy that this year’s Garudotsavam was without a crime and also without an accident in spite of allowing two wheelers on the ghat roads ’. Thanks to the launch of the common command centre with over 200 CCTV’s and trained personnel from each department the holy event passed through smoothly .’ We created a special team at Centre with experienced staff from each department-power, engineering etc. that no time is wasted in arriving at solutions and taking decisions‘, he said.

The Command centre will become the nerve centre of the security and protection systems of Tirumala which are already strengthened with an inner metal corridor and an outer corridor around the holy temple. ’TTD has allocated over Rs.68 crore for complete networking with CCTV’s and we can watch people from Alipiri gates to Srivari Padalu as well ‘he says.

Sri Gopal said the other focus area is to protect the rich greenery and environment in and around Tirumala as the hillocks have a geological history besides their divine vibes. ’The Tirumala hills are a natural heritage wonder with its quartzite blocks in shape of vertical hills and spread over 10 kms‘he says adding that the Sheshachala hills housed several unique national geological monuments like Shila Toranam and the Quartzite formations.

We all know what happened at Uttarkhand and how the concrete jungles led to Char dham disaster. ‘It will be my endeavour to ensure that even remote chances of such occurrences is avoided’. TTD has launched environment management plans for the existing structures and also environment impact analysis for every new works. ‘We will not take up any works without environment clearance at all ’he says.