Devotees at the makeshift Ram Janambhoomi temple are unable to offer “prasad” to the deity because of the ban on polythene.
Devotees, for security reasons, are allowed to carry “Prasad” that comprises only “mishri” (sugar crystals) and “ilaichi dana” (sugar balls) in transparent polythene bags. The sellers sometimes, add dried coconut pieces and peanuts in the prasad.
No other sweet, like “laddoos”, are permitted in the complex. The practice is being followed since 2002 on the orders of the apex court for security reasons.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath, during his Ayodhya visit for “Deepotsav” on October 26, had expressed displeasure that polythene bags were still in use in the holy city, despite the ban on plastic.
The district administration immediately ordered the local shopkeepers not to use plastic bags for “prasad”.
However, in the absence of an alternative, the prasad sellers stopped selling the same.
“As per security guidelines, the prasad can be carried into the temple complex only in a transparent bag. We cannot even use brown paper bags and there is no alternative at present to transparent plastic bags which have been banned,” said Ram Asrey, a local seller.
Commissioner Manoj Misra, who is also the receiver of the disputed site, said that there was no ban on offering ‘prasad’ and the ban was only on plastic bags.
He said that arrangements were being made to prove transparent butter paper to the sellers so that they can pack the ‘prasad’ in it.
The priest of the makeshift temple, Acharya Satyendra Das, meanwhile admitted that there had been a ‘drastic’ reduction in the number of devotees who come to offer ‘prasad’ in the past four days.
“There has been an increase in the number of devotees but only a few are bringing ‘prasad’ with them,” he said.
VHP spokesman Sharad Sharma has urged the district administration to provide an alternative at the earliest.