VIJAYAWADA: The long-pending demand of devotees to have a permanent structure for conducting ‘Annadanam’ (serving of free meals) at Kanaka Durga Temple will be fulfilled soon as the temple authorities are contemplating construction of a G+3 building on Arjuna Street at an estimated cost of `15 crore.
According to temple officials, the devasthanam provides free meals to 5,000 devotees everyday under ‘Nitya Annadanam’ scheme in the third floor of Mallikharjuna Maha Mandapam.
Footfall at the temple has doubled in the past few years and there is a strong demand for serving meals to the growing number of pilgrims. In this regard, temple authorities had proposed to increase the number of devotees to be fed from 5,000 to 10,000 per day. However, due to space constraint, the officials had to stick to the original number.
During the recent temple trust board meeting, several members asked chairman Y Gowranga Babu and temple executive officer V Koteswaramma to take steps to construct a spacious, permanent building for ‘Annadanam’.
The board members also told the EO that the devasthanam was facing severe criticism from the devotees for not serving the meals in a proper manner. Koteswaramma intervened and directed the Engineering Department officials to identify suitable land for the construction.
The proposed building will be able to accommodate 10,000 to 15,000 devotees, would have resting halls, store room for preserving groceries, an RO machine and a cooking room.
“With capital fund of the temple decreasing gradually, we are contemplating construction of a permanent structure for ‘Annadanam’ with donations offered to the presiding deity,” Koteswaramma said.
The Engineering Department officials have been directed to prepare a comprehensive plan for the halls and come out with the cost estimates as well, the EO said. Corporate companies have also come forward to make donations for its construction.
Recently, a company expressed interest in serving 20,000 meals per day to devotees.
The works will commence in a few months and the new hall will be constructed in a year, she added.