Bellary: An ambitious project conceived by the Karnataka government to construct a 1,000-room guest house adjoining the Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh to provide accommodation to pilgrims from Karnataka, is likely to be put on the back burner following a resolution adopted by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Specified Authority that construction “is not desirable both from the security and aesthetic point of view”.
According to the resolution, there is a threat to the Tirumala temple from terrorists. “Hence, it may not be desirable to permit such a huge accommodation facility to be constructed by the Karnataka government as the TTD may find it difficult to adopt the same safety measures that are being implemented for its guest houses/choultries”, the resolution said.
Further, the Authority resolved that no new constructions be taken up at Tirumala, either by TTD or by private individuals for accommodation since the existing accommodation at Tirumala is more than sufficient to cater to people for whom Darshan facilities can be provided on a day. No state government has been allotted a site at Tirumala except Karnataka. TTD is allotting guest houses/choultries/VIP rooms on first cum first serve basis to visiting pilgrims from all over India and abroad.
Then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and his cabinet colleagues had in February 2009, laid the foundation stone for the construction of three blocks in the Karnataka Choultry property adjacent to West Mada Street in Tirumala to provide better accommodation to pilgrims from the state at a cost of Rs 83 crore. As per the master plan, 500 general, 34 VIP, 12 VVIP rooms, 2 marriage halls, 2 restaurants and 16 commercial shops were to come up.
The 7.5 acres of land of Karnataka Choultry become a bone of contention between the AP and Karnataka government after Karnataka stated that the land belonged to it and the AP government claimed that the land was taken over by them in 1958. The land was donated by the then Maharaja of Mysore and after the formation of Karnataka state, it became government property.
However, the land dispute was resolved after AP government accepted to lease the land on a nominal rent of Rs1,116 per annum for a period of 50 years permitting TTD to take possession to the extent of 1.70 acres. But Andhra Pradesh High Court issued a stay against the construction after a local advocate filed a PIL stating that the high-rise building would obstruct the view of the temple.
Former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa wrote a letter to AP Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on July 30, 2011 requesting him to direct the TTD to vacate the stay given by the court on the construction of the demolished blocks in Karnataka Choultry. But, till date the stay order has not been vacated.