Archakas In AP Are Waiting For Naidu To Act, Pay Wages

Hyderabad: The opinion that is sought to be publicised through motivated items in newspapers saying that the GO issued by Andhra Pradesh government recently would revive the abolished Mirasi system at Tirumala is absolutely wrong.

Informed sources say the GO Ms No. 76 issued on 17 February 2017 is in complete conformity with the wishes of former chief ministers NT Rama Rao and YS Rajasekhar Reddy. Both the popular leaders are closely related to the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and YSRCP respectively.

Some people are giving wrong advice to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu to harm the interests of the poor archakas. Naidu has been sitting on the file diluting the good work done by NTR and YSR.
In 1987, NTR has appointed Justice Challa Kondaiah commission which recommended amendment to the Endowments Act. Big and small temples were clubbed. Heriditary system was abolished and pay scales were recommended for archakas. On 14 August 1995, a few days before he was overthrown by N Chandrababu Naidu, NTR acknowledged that a mistake was committed in enacting the AP Endowments Act 30/87 with regards to the small temple archakas because he was mislead by Justice Challa Kondaiah and he was not appraised of the impact this legislation will have on small temples, informs Professor MV Soundararajan, who had discussed the matter with late NTR.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Act. But it realised through its committee reports that the ground situation was different. The SC in its judgment of 1997 opined that the Act is not implementable as far as small temples are concerned. The SC suggested that the Act could be amended. Chandrababu Naidu also took the initiative to amend the Act. It was bogged down for one reason or the other.

It was YS Rajasekhara Reddy who got the Act suitably amended. He used the route of consensus among all the political parties and the report of the Select Committee to bring about amendment Act 33 of 2007. According to the amended Act, a scheme was formulated for TTD archakas and it was filed in the SC. Thus the SC disposed off the review petition filed by TTD archakas. The amended Act was seldom implemented due to indifference of the politicians and bureaucrats.

After Naidu came to power in 2014, attempts were made to implement the amended Act. Preliminary notice was issued a month ago. It is alleged that Balasubrahmanyam, who was Deputy Executive Officer at TTD, has been misguiding the chief minister by saying that the Mirasi system would be revived if the GO Ms No 76 is implemented. The Mirasi system and the hereditary question were settled some years ago. Four families claiming hereditary rights were convinced by the then EO who made them withdraw their petition in the SC.

In the absence of any help, hundreds of small temples were closed. Leaders of Hindu religion have been expressing concern at the spread of other religions because of the closure of small temples. It is not only Brahmins that will be benefited if archakas are paid wages. There are a number of non-Brahmins who are working as archakas. If Naidu drags his feet and delays the implementation of the GO Ms No 76, the whole of archaka community will turn against him.

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