Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the custodian of the world’s richest Hindu temple, has signed a pact with State Bank of India (SBI) for deposit of huge quantity of the surplus yellow metal lying in its treasury. The TTD has agreed, in the first phase, to deposit a whopping 1000 kg of gold with SBI, which is said to be the single largest ‘gold deal’, both in terms of value and volume, in the history of the TTD, though it has deposited 1750 kg of gold so far in various banks.

The scheme, which is expected to be a win-win situation for both the stakeholders, is also unique in the sense that a bank is coming to the doorsteps of Tirumala to receive the gold deposits and pay interest in the form of gold.

SBI Chairman O.P. Bhat will be arriving here this week to formally receive the ‘opulent’ deposit from the temple management.

While the TTD used to pay Rs.80 lakh in the past as charges towards transportation, insurance and melting (at the mint), the same will now be taken care of by the bank, thus saving a lot for the temple management. Similarly, against the paltry 0.75 p.c. previously, the TTD will now be getting 1.6 p.c. cumulative rate of interest for the five-year deposit.

Interestingly, the interest will be paid in the form of gold, and not as cash.

Though the RBI officials insist that interest shall not be paid in gold, the TTD, as a ‘privileged customer’, is expected to walk away with more gold!