Devotees irritated over rush of politicos to Medaram
Deccan Chronicle.| Puli Sharat Kumar
Around 90 lakh devotees and political party leaders visited Medaram and offered prayers to the tribal gods Sammakka and Saralamma
With the completion of the main stage for installation of Sammakka on Thursday night, a heavy rush of devotees was witnessed from the early hours on Friday. (Photo: Twitter)
Mulugu: With just a day left for Asia's biggest tribal fair, around 90 lakh devotees and political party leaders visited Medaram and offered prayers to the tribal gods Sammakka and Saralamma in this district by Friday evening.
With the completion of the main stage for installation of Sammakka on Thursday night, a heavy rush of devotees was witnessed from the early hours on Friday. All roads led to the Medaram to offer prayers and seek blessings from the tribal goddesses.
Union ministers Kishan Reddy and Renuka Singh, state ministers Talasani Srinivas, Gangula Kamalakar, Malla Reddy, Huzurabad MLA Etala Rajendar, Malothu Kavitha MLCs Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Madhusudhana Chary, MLAs Aruri Ramesh, Shankar Naik and Redya Naik, GWMC mayor Gundu Sudharani and MD of tourism department Gupta were among those who visited Medaram on Friday.
Endowment minister Indrakaran Reddy and Panchayat Raj minister Errabelli Dayakar inspected the Jatara arrangements. They spent the entire day receiving leaders and providing them various facilities at the temple premises.
After offering prayers, Union minister Kishan Reddy said national status will not be given to the festival but it can be given wide publicity as a tribal fair that is held once every two years.
He said the central government has sanctioned funds for taking up several developmental works at Medaram and in Mulugu district. A tribal university would be established in Mulugu. The government has sanctioned Rs 45 crore for the purpose. Steps are also being taken for the setting up of the Central Museum in Hyderabad, he said.
An heated argument took place between the media persons and police when the latter pushed them around while trying to report the visits of the Union ministers at Medaram. Media personnel raised slogans against the cops. DSP Sangram Singh intervened and restored calm.
The devotees faced hardships with the heavy rush of VVIPs to Medaram since morning. Standing in long serpentine queues, it took more than three hours for them to have darshan of the presiding deities. At one stage, they expressed their anguish openly and tried to break the security cordon set up by the police at the entrance to the temple. With timely intervention of the police and adivasi volunteers, the situation was brought under control.
Some devotees complained that shops in the vicinity fleeced them by quoting high prices for coconut, jaggery, poultry birds and liquor. The shopkeepers took around Rs 50 to Rs 60 for coconut that normally cost no more than Rs 20 and they took Rs 100 to Rs 120 per kilo of jaggery against a normal price of Rs 50.
When the price of broilers were Rs 120 per kg, the shops collected Rs 300 and for country chicken, they collected Rs 600. Shops charged an extra Rs 50 to Rs 80 on each quarter bottle of liquor, they alleged.