TIRUPATI: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) seems unable to wriggle out of a bizarre situation of being saddled with demonetised currency worth Rs 49.7 crore, which has been piled up in its coffers since 2016.
TTD Chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy has met Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman nearly four times till now and sought her help to resolve the issue. Despite repeated requests, the ministry neither resolved the issue nor turned down the request of TTD.
In a representation to Sitharaman in September last year, Subba Reddy underlined that TTD had stopped accepting the demonetised currency of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomiation at its counters, duly following the guidelines of the RBI and the Central government, post demonetisation announcement on November 8, 2016.
Many devotees, however, continued to extend offerings in the hundi in demonetised currency, even after the period for exchanging such currency notes ended. Several banks with which TTD has been maintaining its accounts and parked thousands of crores of corpus funds also stopped accepting the demonetized currency from the TTD.
As a result, Rs.49.7 crore demonetised currency comprising 6.34 lakh Rs 500 notes and 1.8 lakh Rs 1,000 notes piled up in TTD lockers since 2016. Despite being a semi-government institution, the TTD, which comes under the purview of the state government, has not been given an opportunity to get the demonetised currency stockpile exchanged.
Placing all these facts, the TTD chairman, at that time, appealed to the Union finance minister to give suitable directions to the finance ministry and the RBI on how to proceed forward in getting the currency exchanged for legal notes. The issue has been dragging on since 2016. Subba Reddy disclosed this in answer to a question posed at the press meet addressed by him after the trust board meeting at Tirumala on Saturday.
“The issue of demonetised currency is linked to the faith and sentiments of devotees. We have requested Union finance minister Nirmala to enable the temple management to deposit the money with the RBI or any other bank. We have met the union finance minister nearly four times now, and placed our request before her. She said if we approve the request of TTD and enable it to deposit the demonetised currency notes, several other institutions would also come to the ministry with the same request and it would become difficult for it to process all such requests. However, we are still confident and hoping that the finance ministry will accede to our request to exchange the demonetised notes,” he added.