To ensure that pilgrims (varkaris) walking from Alandi to Pandharpur on the Palkhi procession (wari) get hygienic food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has come up with a plan. The procession will be starting on Sunday from Alandi and will reach Pandharpur on July 19.
“Many devotees offer meals for the pilgrims each year. Most of the people take good care while preparing food, but given the recent cases of food poisoning we will take out samples and test them. We have also instructed people on safe handling of food,” said Shashikant Kekare, joint commissioner FDA (Food). FDA officials have visited Alandi where the procession starts.
“As the wari starts from the Alandi, in the first few days food is prepared in large quantities. We have surveyed the water purification plant there and the arrangements of meals for the pilgrims. The authorities have also promised to help the FDA,” said Kekare.
“A large number of street food vendors also supply food to pilgrims. To ensure hygienic food, officers will test samples from vendors,” said Dilip Sangat, assistant commissioner FDA (Food).
Free medical help
PMC will make available first aid and free medical help to all pilgrims during the Palkhi procession. On July 1 a mobile van will be available at Phulenagar Chowk at Vishrantwadi.
The next day a medical team will be available at Sakhalipir Talim from 9 am to 5 pm.
Also, on both days a 24-hours first aid centre will be available at Mamasaheb Badde Clinic near Bhavani Peth police station, at Nana Peth.
One mobile clinic will be heading towards Pandharpur with the procession.