Tirupati, a containment zone, shut for 14 days; Tirumala temple stays open
District collector Bharat Gupta told reporters that the entire temple town of Tirupati had been declared as a containment zone for Covid-19.Updated: Jul 21, 2020 21:15 IST
A curious situation prevails in the temple town of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor with the district authorities announcing a complete lockdown in the town starting Tuesday, even as the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams continues to allow the pilgrims to have the darshan of Lord Venkateshwara on Tirumala hills.
District collector Bharat Gupta told reporters that the entire temple town of Tirupati had been declared as a containment zone for Covid-19 and a complete lockdown would be in force from Tuesday till August 5.
“We are going to strictly enforce the lockdown for 14 days in the wake of the intensity of Covid-19 in Tirupati. All the 50 wards under Tirupati municipal corporation had been affected with some wards reporting more than 40 positive cases for Covid-19,” he said.
Except those catering to essential services like medical shops and milk vendors, all the other business establishments, including wine shops and banks, would remain closed. The grocery shops and vegetable markets would be allowed only from 6 to 11 am.
No private vehicles, autorickshaws and public transport would be available in the town, except for those who have medical emergencies and go to the hospitals, the collector said.
“We shall review the situation on July 31 and take a call as to whether to continue the lockdown or end it on August 5,” Gupta said and reminded that the recent 45-day lockdown in Srikalahasti, another pilgrim centre about 35 kilometres from Tirupati, had yielded excellent results.
Strangely, the TTD authorities are yet to take a decision on the closure of the Lord Venkateshwara temple atop the Tirumala hills for darshan of the pilgrims, who cannot reach the pilgrim centre without entering Tirupati town.
Tirupati municipal commissioner PS Girisha clarified that the Road Transport Corporation had arranged buses from the RTC bus stand directly to Tirumala for the sake of pilgrims, who should not move anywhere in the town. No restaurants or shops would be available for them in Tirupati.
“Those coming by their own vehicles or hired vehicles should go to the hills via Tirumala bypass road and should not enter the town. They could buy food parcels in the restaurants located on the bypass road,” he said.
Meanwhile, the TTD announced curtailment of darshans for pilgrims in the wake of restrictions imposed by the district authorities. Starting Tuesday, the TTD stopped offline sale of 3,000 darshan tickets which was offered to pilgrims at Bhudevi Complex located at Alipiri.
“Since the entire area has now come under lockdown, the facility for direct purchase of darshan tickets has been closed till further notice,” a TTD official said.