Vijayawada: The lack of coordination between government officials and voluntary organisations while distributing free food for Pushkar pilgrims is resulting in the food being going waste where the flow of pilgrims is low. This is resulting in a waste of public money. Free food for pilgrims, prepared by the state government is being supplied to 12 Pushkar ghats and Pushkarnagars in the city.
The food supplied at the Pushkar ghats and Pushkarnagars is costing around Rs 10 per meal with an average of 1 lakh to 1,20,000 meals per day. The cost comes around Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh. The food is being prepared by the Akshya Patra foundation (ISKON, Bengaluru) with government funds. An average of three to four lakh rupees per day is being wasted on the free food supplied to Pushkar pilgrims, according to statistics of the pilgrims flow into the city as mentioned by the government.
The average flow of the pilgrims in the city is around 2 to 3 lakh, whereas the food prepared is for more than 10 lakh people. Though there is visible drop in the number of pilgrims, both officially and unofficially, the quantum of being prepared remains the same. Not controlling the production will mean wasting around Rs 40 to Rs 50 lakh by the end of the 12-day fete. Akshaya Patra is producing food for pilgrims based on the instructions of the Special officer Rajasekhar and Pushkaralu food in-charge Rama Rao.
There appears to be no coordination between them and the other institutions supplying free food. Around `60 lakh has been spent on the free food in the past five days. Meanwhile it’s reported that around 55 organisations, including TTD are distributing food free of cost to 10 lakh pilgrims per day in Krishna and Guntur districts with contributions from more than 120 donors.
“Plenty of food is available at all the ghats and Pushkarnagars. Zeera rice, lemon rice, curd rice, vegetable biryani and sambar rice is being distributed free by the volunteers. The excess food is being thrown into dumper bins placed at the ghats,” said Ramana Reddy, a pilgrim from Ongole. “I agree that the food is being wasted as I saw many dumper bins filled with the excess food thrown away by the pilgrims. We prepare the food according to the instructions of the food in-charge and special officer deputed by the government, who has to control the wastage,” said Pattabhi, production in-charge. Akshya Patra.