Thousands take ‘fish prasadam’

Hyderabad, June 8: Thousands of asthma patients on Friday took ‘fish prasadam’, which has been distributed by a family here for more than 170 years. The patients from Telugu states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and some other states queued up at Exhibition Grounds to take ‘fish prasadam’ as the medicine began to be called a decade ago after rationalists challenged its efficacy. Members of Bathini Goud family started administering the ‘wonder drug’ at 9 a.m. to mark ‘Mrigasira Karti’, which heralds the onset of monsoon.

Like in the past, the Telangana government made elaborate arrangements for the annual event. Minister for Animal Husbandry and Fisheries T. Srinivas Yadav along with Telangana Legislative Council Chairman Swamy Goud inaugurated the distribution of afish prasadam’. Despite the controversies which hit the popularity of the fish medicine over last few years, people continue to throng the venue in the hope of finding some relief to their nagging respiratory problems. However, the numbers have dwindled over the years. They gulped down a live ‘murrel’ fish with a yellow herbal paste in its mouth, which is believed to provide the much-needed relief, if taken for three consecutive years. For vegetarians, the family gives the medicine with jaggery. Bathini Harinath Goud said their family members were giving ‘fish prasadam’ at 40 counters. The process will continue till 9 a.m. on Saturday.

The Fisheries Department has supplied 1.30 lakh fingerlings for sale at its counters at the venue. However, the actual number of patients taking ‘fish prasadam’ could be less than a lakh. Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) is operating over 130 special buses from airport, railway and bus stations to ferry asthma patients to the venue. Various departments are providing water, sanitation and other basic amenities to the patients. Voluntary organisations have also chipped in by distributing free food and water packets. (IANS)