A Rs 400 crore revenue loss notwithstanding, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) which governs the country's 'richest' shrine, Sri Venkateswara Temple here, has not implemented a pay cut for its nearly 23,000 staff and is confident of paying full salaries for the next two to three months, a top official has revealed.
The surge of devotees may have waned following the nationwide lockdown and their cash offerings along with it, but the shrine is banking on other sources of income like interest on fixed desposits to feed its 8,000 permanent employees, besides the 15,000 outsourced staff at this hill shrine located on the holy Tirumala.
TTD Chairman YV Subba Reddy said the board has been incurring a loss of Rs 200 crore per month, ever since the temple was closed after the Centre imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 24 in a bid to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Incidentally, TTD had implemented entry curbs to the temple from March 20 itself as a precaution, he said.
"Despite severe financial constraints, TTD would be in a position to manage (full) salary payments to all its permanent staff and outsourced workers, and pensioners for the next two or three months," Reddy told PTI.
The TTD Board is expected to meet its requirements from alternative sources of income like fixed desposits, which yield a whopping Rs 700 crore annual interest, a temple official said.
It has Rs 12,000 crore in FDs in various nationalised banks which ensure the said returns.
He added the board had in February approved budget proposals envisaging a total revenue of about Rs 3,310 crore during the fiscal year and of this, cash offerings made by devotees were projected to be Rs 1,351 crore. About 2.5 crore devotees throng the temple annually, the official added.
Though the 2000-year-old shrine remains closed in line with the national lockdown, all rituals are being conducted uninterruptedly and flawlessly by the priests, Reddy said.
Besides being involved in many charitable activities, TTD has several educational institutions and health care facilities under its control to serve the needy public and these aspects are also being taken care of, Reddy added.
The Centre had earlier extended lockdown, scheduled to end on May 4, by another two weeks.