It is holiday season and Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanams in the city is teeming with devotees. But most of them are unhappy with the quality of prasadam offered to them and are demanding that the authorities ensure quality.
Everyday about 25,000 to 30,000 laddus and six to eight quintals of ‘pulihora’ (tamarind rice) is sold at the prasadam counters in the temple. During Fridays, Sundays and general holidays, laddu sales increase to nearly 40,000 and 12 to 15 quintals of pulihora is sold per day.
With summer holidays on, devotees from far off places, including Hyderabad and neighbouring districts of East, West Godavari and Guntur districts, visit the temple to seek the blessings of the Goddess. “I come here every month but of late, I find the quality of prasadam is not up to the mark,” says Rajendra Kumar, a resident of Hyderabad.
Most devotees complain that quality ingredients are not used and cashew nuts, green chillies are missing in the preparations of ‘pulihora.’ The rice used for cooking ‘pulihora’ is not of fine quality and laddus are getting dry and hard in summer. One can understand laddus getting dry and hard in winters and rainy season and this shows that ghee quantity is decreasing in preparation, complains M. Shobha, a private employee.
However, temple authorities say stringent measures are being taken up to maintain quality of prasadams. Till last year, contract was issued to private firms for preparing prasadams in the temple premises but this year the contract is cancelled and the temple management is preparing the prasadams to maintain more quality, says Trinadha Rao, Executive Officer of the temple.
This apart, a four-member committee, including the Vanta Swamy, who cooks prasadam for deities, is formed to ensure quality. Every week the committee checks the quality and hardly there are any complaints about the quality. Besides, food inspectors the from Vijayawada Municipal Corporation too check the quality, says Mr. Rao.