Food wastage has a direct bearing on food security. In a pilgrim city like Tirupati with a high floating population, the quantum of food produced and consumed is much higher.

The city is a perfect case for taking up a campaign to reduce food wastage, given the huge number of star hotels, kiosks and even pushcart eateries. These apart, marriage halls and students’ hostels are the places where scope for wastage is high. It is with this mission that Society for Hunger Elimination (SHE), a Tirupati-based voluntary organisation, came up with a novel idea to target these specific groups and spread the message on avoiding food wastage.

With the theme ‘Annam Parabrahma Swaroopam’, SHE has launched a campaign to inculcate in the minds of denizens the urgent need to avoid food wastage. “If not wasted by you, the same food would have gone to the impoverished,” is the message sought to be conveyed. The posters released on Wednesday by former Speaker of State assembly Agarala Eswara Reddi and received by K.V. Mohanasundaram, Managing Director of Bhimas Deluxe Hotel, are meant to be displayed prominently in kalyana mandapams, hotels and hostels.

According to a guesstimate, the city wastes around 25 to 30 tonnes of food per day in the form of prepared food, vegetables, fruits, fish, milk and meat. “When the several litres of milk poured on statues by political leaders is taken into account, we get a mind-boggling figure”, said SHE president Velamoor Rajagopal and formerly Director of Central Plantation Crops Research Institute, Kasargod (Kerala).

For example, 150 to 200 kg of food is made for 1,000 guests in a wedding, but the quantum of wasted food thrown into the bins is a whopping 30 to 40 per cent. The 25 mammoth kalyana mandapams, 100 and odd students’ hostels, the star category to medium category hotels and the ‘Annadana Satrams’ are the prospective contributors to food wastage and hence the target of this campaign.

“As 35 crore Indians go to bed without food every night, the idea is to make Tirupati, the abode of the Almighty, a ‘zero food wastage’ city,” said Dr. Rajagopal, with hope gleaming in his eyes.