Coronavirus lockdown | TTD gets the nod to open Balaji temple from June 8

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The government has accorded permission for the opening of the hill temple of Lord Venkateswara from June 8.

Special Chief Secretary, Revenue (Endowments) JSV Prasad gave the orders following a request made by TTD Executive Officer Anil Kumar Singhal for conducting a trial run for TTD employees and local residents of Tirumala.

Physical distancing

The intention behind seeking permission is to enable TTD to study the crowd behaviour and inadequacies, if any, in implementing the mandatory health advisories issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) before throwing the temple open to the general public.

The TTD has already drawn circles all along the darshan lines ensuring a distance of 10 feet between the devotees. It is proposed to initially limit the number of devotees to 7,000 to 10,000 a day at the rate of 300 and 500 per hour.

To ensure compliance of physical distancing, a zig-zag model of queue lines with protruding steel rods on both sides has been put in place.

Initially, TTD plans to permit its 21,000-strong workforce for darshan during the first three days followed by local residents and later the denizens of Tirupati. The same guidelines will be implemented at all other temples under TTD fold. It is not immediately known whether the trekking routes (footpaths) leading to Tirumala will be opened to the public from June 8 or only after the end of the trial run.

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