Kochi, Nov 27 (IANS) The Kerala High Court Tuesday asked those responsible in preparing the famed temple prasadam at Sabarimala to see that it is done in a clean and proper manner with utmost importance given to hygeine.
The division bench's observation came after a laboratory test found out that the offering from the temple ("appam") had fungus in it.
Most Sabarimala pilgrims, after paying obeisance to the presiding deity, make sure they return with the temple prasadam which consists of the appam and "aravana" (a variety of payasam).
Following media reports of the contaminated appam, the temple authorities last week destroyed huge quantities of it.
The bench while complimenting the authorities for destroying the contaminated appam, however, asked the temple authorities, the Travancore Devasom Board (TDB), to daily monitor the preparation of the food items and also check the automated packing machine of the aravana plant.
When the media reported about the spoilt appam being supplied, the TDB authorities contested the claims. The court while lauding the media dismissed the TDB's prayer to rein in the media for spreading "baseless news".
The TDB was reconstituted recently by the Oommen Chandy government and till then K.Jayakumar, who recently retired as the state chief secretary, was its chief commissioner.
After the new board took over, Jayakumar relinquished his post, but the court Tuesday asked him to continue till the present season is over.
Meanwhile, state Devasom Minister V.S.Sivakumar told reporters in the capital city that an inquiry would be conducted to find out how the fungus infected appam was distributed and strict action would be taken against those responsible for it.
This temple is the major source of revenue for the TDB and the aggregate revenue earned at Sabarimala in the 2011−2012 pilgrimage season was Rs.174.20 crore, up from Rs.153 crore during the 2010−11 season.
The new pilgrimage season began Nov 15 and has been witnessing various glitches. The season ends on Jan 14.
Situated in the Western Ghats ranges at an altitude of 914 metres above sea level, the Sabarimala temple is four km uphill from Pamba in Pathanamthitta district.
It is one of the most famous Hindu pilgrim centres in India.
The temple, which bars the entry of women who have attained puberty, is accessible only on foot from Pamba.