BHUBANESWAR: Lord Jagannath’s Mahaprasad will undergo quality check before being sold to devotees as the Puri shrine administration has decided to use the services of a food inspector for the task, a first of its kind initiative in the country.
“I have written to the health department to depute a food inspector in the temple for daily quality check of the Mahaprasad. We have been receiving complaints from many devotees about substandard Mahaprasad sold by some servitors on the shrine premises. The food inspector will also check the quality of tanka torani (water mixed to cooked rice) sold to devotees,” chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra, a senior IAS officer, told on Monday.
Shrine servitors denied the charges. “I cannot say about complaints from devotees. But we never sell stale Mahaprasad. We even receive bulk orders for marriage parties and other religious functions from across the state,” said Krushna Chandra Samantaray, secretary of Suar Mahasuar Nijog, the body of servitors, who prepare Mahaprasad in the temple. “We either feed the poor the unsold Mahaprasad or bury the holy food,” Samantaray said.
The servitors urged the temple administration to immediately renovate the Ananda Bazaar, where Mahaprasad is sold to devotees inside the temple. Since long, the temple body has been saying to modernise the Ananda Bazaar. But the dining place looks unhygienic, said Shyamsundar Mohapatra, another servitor.