Devotees smell conspiracy in ‘prasad’ row

via http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Cities/Devotees_smell_conspiracy_in_prasad_row/articleshow/2435708.cms published on October 15, 2007

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: God’s own prasad is not helping temple administrators in Kerala any bit.

Two successive controversies over the choice of manufacturer for the prasad at the famous Sabarimala shrine and a more ‘adventurous’ scheme to market the prasad of the renowned Krishna temple in Ambalappuzha through the state consumer federation has had the Travancore Dewasom Board, which administers these temples, squirming with devotees smelling a conspiracy and demanding a probe.

TDB had shortlisted Kollam-based Elite India Exports owned by a Muslim entrepreneur for “preparation and supply” of the aravana payasam at Sabarimala, overlooking three others who had bid lower for the contract.

The board has now sought the high court’s permission, which is mandatory under the rules, to proceed with its decision.

“It’s nothing short of a scam and shows the unholy nexus between the board officials and traders who are targeting the shrine for commercial reasons,” alleged Kummanan Rajasekharan, who heads a conglomerate of Hindu groups.

In its affidavit to the HC, the board merely said it held negotiations with the four lowest bidders at the end of which Elite was chosen. The party which bid lowest was not considered as according to TDB, it was related to a blacklisted firm.

“But there is no explanation on why the two others were left out,” said Rajasekharan. A senior board official, meanwhile, admitted to TOI that something was fishy in the entire matter and hoped the HC would set things right.

A related incident which has irked devotees is the sale of the prasad of Krishna temple at Ambalappuzha in Aleppey district through an outlet of the Kerala State Co-operative Consumers’ Federation (ConsumerFed). The preparation is very famous and is available only in limited quantity at the temple.

ConsumerFed MD Reji Nair told TOI that the prasad was sold at the outlet, but this was done by some local employees.

“We had mulled over the idea initially after we saw many devotees returning disenchanted as they don’t get the prasad which is in limited supply. But we were waiting for the Devaswom Board’s clearance. Meanwhile some local employees seem to have gone ahead and done it,” Nair said. “But the moment protests arose, we asked them to stop it,” he added.

The explanations, however, fail to pacify religious groups which see it as instances of the state’s anti-Hindu acts.

Welcome to Haindava Keralam! Register for Free or Login as a privileged HK member to enjoy auto-approval of your comments and to receive periodic updates.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Responses

Latest Articles from Kerala Focus

Did You Know?