Plastic-free Tirumala town to have glass bottles for drinking water; proposal gets mixed response

Since the Tirupati Urban Development Authority decided to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, pilgrims are facing a lot of problems in getting drinking water. 

Plastic-free Tirumala town to have glass bottles for drinking water; proposal gets mixed response

Tirumala town, where Tirumala Venkateswara Temple- the holy abode of Lord Venkateswara - is situated, will soon be plastic-free. The holy town's garbage bins are filled up with plastic water bottles as the majority of pilgrims, about 80,000 on an average day, used to carry them. 

Since the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) decided to ban the sale of plastic water bottles, pilgrims are facing a lot of problems in getting drinking water. One such visitor from Hyderabad, Dr Krishnamraju, told Zee Media that the move to make Tirumala town plastic-free is a welcome step, but the authorities concerned should make an alternative arrangement to facilitate the pilgrims. 

The entire holy town has gone plastic-free since the sale of water bottles was banned here from January 1, 2020. After this, authorized licensed water sellers came together and jointly brought up a proposal of packed "glass water bottle" with each water bottle carrying a maximum retail price of Rs 40 (750ml). They also put forth that if an empty bottle is returned, the bearer will Rs 20 in return, thereby, the cost will remain the same. 

"We will be providing quality water as per Indian Standards Institute (ISI) mark and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) certified," they said, adding "We have prepared processed water with the five-stage cleaning process. The samples of packed bottles have been given to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, and we are now waiting for TTD's permission," said Tyagraj, licensed mineral water vendor.

TTD Health officer Dr Ramnarayana Reddy on Tuesday welcomed the proposal to introduce glass bottles, as pilgrims can re-use and give them back while returning from their journey. "As of now, samples of water have been sent for quality test, and in a couple of days, they will be allowed for sale and after getting pilgrims' feedback they will be implemented in a full-fledged way."

Another pilgrim from Amritsar, Vineeth, said this is a welcome initiative, and it can be replicated across the country." Harshad Lokande from Karnataka also praised the idea.