The Kerala High Court approved the Travancore Devaswom Board decision to increase the rates of vazhipadu and prasadams, including aravana and appam, at Sabarimala Ayyappa temple.
However, the court said that the prices of certain items used only for poojas or some offerings, which would not involve much expenditure, can be considered for trimming down to the possible extent.
During the last pilgrim season, the rate of aravana was Rs 50 and the rate of a packet of appam, containing seven pieces, was Rs 20. As per the revised rate, aravana will be sold at Rs 60 while a packet of appam will cost Rs 25. The TDB submitted that owing to escalation of the prices of commodities, hike in transportation charges and increase in fuel charges, revised rates for vazhipadu were proposed by the Devaswom Commissioner.
There were some complaints from devotees and various organisations about the hardships to the devotees and they had requested that the rates be reduced. Considering this, the rate of some were reduced, the TDB said.
“The cost of all ingredients in each vazhipadu/prasdam has gone up by more than 200 per cent. Establishment cost, cost of equipment for its preparation and labour charges have also doubled. So, the revision is inevitable,” the TDB submitted.
Considering this, the court granted approval for increasing the rates.
“The court does not find any sustainable complaint regarding the rates of vazhipadu, which could be treated as fairly costly range,” the court said.
The court directed the board to consider within one month any downward revision of the rates and notify at the earliest.
Do you think the price hike is affordable to common man !! Comment please.