The issue of month-long “annadana” by the Kodagu Ekikarana Ranga (KER) at Talacauvery has come under flak from several individuals and organisations, including the BJP. The KER has been offering “annadana” since October 17, the day of Teertodbhava. It will end on November 17. With only a few more days to go, the controversy refuses to die down.

While the KER has defended its move by saying that “annadana” had the sanction of the Bhagamandala and Talacauvery Temple Committee, the others said it could be offered only on the day of Teertodbhava.

K.J. Bharat of the Bhagamandala Nagarika Samiti and Manu Muthappa of the BJP have been opposing the “annadana” vociferously.

Besides spoiling the sanctity of Talacauvery in terms of generation of waste, the “annadana” went against the norms that no activity should be allowed at Talacauvery after 6 p.m., they said.

Mr. Muthappa and Mr. Bharat had mobilised the people of Bhagamandala against the “annadana”. The KER, on the other hand, said that it had been offering “annadana” at Talacauvery for the past 20 years and had taken utmost care to handle the waste.

Thammoo Poovaiah of KER said that Kodi family members, who are the “devatakkas” and security men, stayed at the “anna chatra” (mass kitchen) close to the sanctum sanctorum at Talacauvery to safeguard the ornaments of Goddess Cauvery. Mr. Poovaiah questioned Mr. Muthappa how the ABVP activists participating in a training session were allowed to stay at the Kashi Math close to the sanctum sanctorum from March 31 to April 5. Food had been cooked and served to ABVP activists at the “anna chatra” itself.

He said after the “ashtamangala prashne” in 1992, it was decided that regular “annadana” could be taken up at Talacauvery.

Dharmadhikari of Srikshetra Dharmastala D. Veerendra Heggade, who had participated in a function to mark the inauguration of the renovated temples, said “annadana” was one of the best services offered to the devotees.