The Archaeological Survey of India on Saturday withdrew its letter which proposed to take over the administration of the Venkateshwara temple in Tirumala town in Andhra Pradesh, the Hindustan Times reported.
R Srilakshmi, ASI superintendent of the Amaravati circle, wrote to Anil Kumar Singhal, executive officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which manages the temple. The letter said she had received a communication from the ASI headquarters directing her to examine the feasibility of declaring Tirumala shrine and temples around it as monuments of national importance.
“Hence you are requested to provide information on the surrounding temples under the Devasthanams and also cooperate with the ASI officials approaching you to collect information and taking photographs,” she added. However, a few hours later, she sent another letter withdrawing the first one.
Singhal confirmed that the circular had been withdrawn, The Times of India reported. “I hope that now there is no controversy over this,” he said.
Immediately after the circular was issued, Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister KE Krishnamurthy criticised it, saying that any decision on the management of the Tirumala temple should be taken keeping in view the sentiments of the devotees.
Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao said Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma had told him that there was “no question” of the Centre taking over the administration of the temple. “Only when a state government requests intervention, the Centre considers such a request,” he tweeted.