Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Tuesday expressed anger at the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Executive Officer for allowing hoteliers in Tirumala to loot devotees by selling food and beverages at exorbitant prices.
A division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Abhinand Kumar Shavili, while dealing with a PIL by Parihaara Seva Samiti, said it appeared that the TTD authorities have connived with the hoteliers and shop owners and were allowing them to loot devotees.
The bench pointed out that stall owners and hoteliers were even charging Rs 100 for snacks and beverages while the display board listed the cost of these items at Rs 10
The bench said that though the hoteliers and stall owners were ruling roost without paying taxes and not even issuing the bills, the authorities remained mute spectators.
The ACJ said that they had experienced the situation first hand during their visit to Tirumala.
Appearing before the court as per its direction, TTD EO Anil Singhal informed the bench that checks had been conducted in the past three days and stall owners and hoteliers had been imposed Rs 21 lakh fine for selling the snacks and beverages on high rates.
The bench asked the EO why the TTD was not fixing reasonable prices of foodstuff and beverages that both the consumers and sellers found satisfactory. Counsel said that fresh tenders for stalls and hotels will be called in December and the TTD will incorporate stringent rules with regard to price of items.
While dispensing with the presence of the EO in the case, the bench directed the TTD to file the counter by November 14 explaining the reason behind imposing Rs 21 lakh fine on stall owners and hoteliers....