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Row over quality of Kerala temple offering

Lab study finds fungus in the offering distributed at Sabarimala

Gulf News

Thiruvananthapuram: The pilgrimage season for the famed Sabarimala temple in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district has run right into a heated controversy just over a week after commencement of the 2012-13 season. The row has broken out over a report by the Council for Food Research and Development at Konni in Pathanamthitta district reportedly finding harmful ingredients in the appam (a sweet offering) distributed by the temple authorities.

Local television media stopped other programmes to beam live from Sabarimala that the CFRD lab study had found fungus in the offering distributed at Sabarimala, and that the report included a portion that stated there were toxic ingredients in the offering that could cause severe damage to the liver. The report is to be submitted to the Kerala High Court on Monday.

Officials of the Devaswom Board which runs the temple, however, felt things were being blown out of proportion, and that a call could be made on the matter only after the contents of the report were available, after its submission to the high court.

Devaswom president Govindan Nair said media reports were only “rumours” and that a clear picture would emerge when the contents of the report were made public.

Varying reports said that between 1,00,000 and 2,50,000 cans of the offering were destroyed after being found infected by fungus. The matter came to light after some pilgrims from Thrissur found that the offering had gone bad.

The temple authorities in Sabarimala are hoping for a good pilgrimage season this year. Last year, thousands of pilgrims were affected because of the Mullaperiyar dam controversy between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which led to frequent blockade of the border of the two states at Kumily, which affected pilgrim movement.