Tirumala: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has a massive stock of demonetized and unused coins weighing around 85 tonnes in its stockrooms. In an effort to get rid of the piles of coins it has decided to move them to the furnaces of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL), Salem. The hill shrine has decided to send the stockpile to SAIL in the first week of February after it failed to turn it into hard cash.
SAIL has agreed to pay Rs. 29,972 a tonne and the TTD will get around Rs. 26 lakhs from the entire stocks. The first consignment of around 40 tonnes will likely be moved during the first week of February. The hill shrine had already sent 90,000 bags of coins to various banks during 2018, fetching around Rs. 30 crore but was having trouble converting the 85 tonnes of coins into cash.
It had approached the RBI but the efforts were in vain. The Government Mint at Mumbai had suggested the TTD dump the coins at SAIL on the basis of its weight and the Union Finance Ministry, on 18 April 2019, had also approved the move to melt these coins. A senior official said the TTD will not be getting money from SAIL immediately and the amount would be adjusted from the supplies they made to the shrine.
In the olden days, people visiting the temple offered coins in the Hundi, but the custom changed with the introduction of paper currency. Interestingly, many are now switching to online transfer of donations.