‘Tirupati laddu’ may be sold at flat rate to curb black marketing

Sreenivas Janyala
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On the black marketing of laddus, the official said, "Every month, TTD gives each employee coupons that can be used to buy 10 laddus for Rs 5 each. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Representational Image)The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the Lord Venkateshwara Temple, is considering introducing one rate for the popular 'Tirupati laddu'.

At a meeting on Tuesday, TTD chairman Y V Subba Reddy discussed with officials of the administration and vigilance department how to curb black marketing of the laddus.

"One of the suggestions was to offer one laddu free to every pilgrim on the way out of the temple after 'darshan'. For those who want to purchase extra laddus, there will be a flat rate of Rs 50 per laddu. Currently, laddus are being sold at different prices, ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 50. It was suggested at the meeting that laddus be sold at the flat rate of Rs 50 per piece at the counters," said an official.

On the black marketing of laddus, the official said, "Every month, TTD gives each employee coupons that can be used to buy 10 laddus for Rs 5 each. Retired TTD employees get coupons to buy 10 laddus for Rs 10 each. These subsidised laddus are going into black market and are being sold at a higher price and TTD is suffering a huge loss,'' the official added.

Officials said several suggestions were discussed during the meeting, but a final decision is yet to be taken.

Currently, TTD offers one free laddu and five laddus for Rs 70 to pilgrims who climb the stairs from the foothill to the temple and other pilgrims get four laddus for Rs 70. To pilgrims who buy tickets for 'darshan', TTD offers two laddus at Rs 25 each which can be collected at the counter on the way out of the temple.

Each piece of laddu, made of pure ghee, costs nearly Rs 40 to make, but the TTD sells them at subsidised rates. TTD prepares two lakh laddus on weekdays and up to 3 lakh on weekends, holidays and festivals. In September 2009, the 'Tirupati laddu' got the Geographical Indication tag.