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‘Prasad’ at Uttarakhand shrines to get a local flavour

The ‘prasad’ offerings at all the shrines, including Badrinath and Kedarnath, in Uttarakhand will now have a local flavour

dehradun Updated: Feb 23, 2018 22:39 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,prasad,Uttarakhand shrines
Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat launching 'Prasadam' scheme at a press conference in Dehradun on Friday. (HT Photo.)

The ‘prasad’ offerings at all the shrines, including Badrinath and Kedarnath, in Uttarakhand will now have a local flavour. Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat Friday launched the ‘Prasadam’ scheme under which only locally prepared offerings will be sold to pilgrims visiting the religious places.

The scheme aims to “transform” the hill state’s rural economy, the CM said.

“We have some 625 shrines where a large number of pilgrims visit annually. At all such shrines, devotees will now get locally prepared ‘prasadam’,” he said. “The government supported scheme, under which devotional offering will be prepared by women-run self-help groups (SHGs) using local produce, aims to transform the state’s rural economy.”

Launching the scheme at a press conference, Rawat said the scheme was part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to boost the farmers’ income by 2022. The scheme is inspired by an experiment successfully carried out at the Badrinath shrine. Introducing the man behind the “successful experiment”, Rawat said Govind Singhji made “substantial profits” by selling ‘prasad’ from a small shop on the precincts of the shrine. “Singh sold ‘prasad’ worth ₹19 lakh in a year earning a net profit of ₹ 9 lakh,” CM said adding that the government had provided him the shop at the shrine.

The experiment would now act as a model to transform the state’s “pilgrim-centric” rural economy. “That model getting replicated in all 625 shrines across the state means a SHG (comprising 10 women and four artisans) each will prepare ‘prasad’ and sell it to pilgrims,” Rawat said. “This would help resolve the livelihood issues facing some nine thousand individuals besides leading to the economic empowerment of women associated with the scheme.”

It would also fetch those associated with the scheme an estimated annual income of ₹ 80 crore if they sell the ‘prasad’ for ₹ 100 per packet. “That is the minimum total income the scheme will fetch the SHGs considering that at least 80 lakh of the total 485,000 pilgrims visit those (625) shrines annually. Of these pilgrims, some 1.17 lakh are foreigners,” Rawat added.

The CM said that the state government would provide the SHGs all possible help. “For instance, we will ensure that they get a space to sell the ‘prasad’ and are also properly trained to prepare it. The sacred offerings prepared by them would have local farm produce as its ingredients,” Rawat said.

He said that the ‘prasad’ would also be attractively packaged. “Besides, I have also asked the entrepreneurs to use stevia (a locally found shrub which is a calorie-free sweetener and sugar substitute) in preparing ‘prasad’ so that even diabetics could relish it.”

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 22:39 IST