TTD confirms choosing another supplier over KMF to procure ghee for ‘laddu prasad’, but does not name it

TTD Executive Officer Dharna Reddy said suppliers were usually chosen by e-tender, and another company had quoted the lowest price.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Aug 01, 2023 | 8:45 AM Updated Aug 01, 2023 | 8:45 AM

Representational image of ghee.

Even as speculation was rife that Gujarat-based dairy giant Amul had been chosen to supply ghee to make the iconic laddu prasad of the world-famous Tirumala temple, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy said supply contract could not be given on a nomination basis.

On Monday, 31 July, Dharna Reddy said the ghee supplier to TTD is chosen by an e-tender process.

He added that another company had emerged as L1 — the lowest bidder, in government-project parlance — by quoting the lowest price, and hence it was chosen over the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF).

However, he did not divulge the particulars of the company that had bagged the ghee-supply contract.

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The procurement process

“TTD procures all items — including ghee — through the e-tender process, by floating tenders inviting eligible suppliers from all over India. Since it is an e-tender, we do not know the participant till we open their bids,” Dharma Reddy told reporters.

“After the opening of the tender, we proceed as per the tender conditions and procedures,” he added.

“Because TTD is also a government organisation, we have to award the contract to L1 that is the lowest offered rate only,” said Dharma Reddy.

He also rubbished the claims of KMF Chairman Bheema Naik that the federation had been supplying ghee to TTD continuously for the past 20 years.

“The tender is awarded to whoever has the lowest bid. The KMF, on one occasion, was L2 and another supplier was L1. The KMF came forward to supply around 25-30 percent of the ghee at the L1 rate, and said it would match that price. However, we needed the consent of the L1 contractor for that. We took its consent and allowed a certain percentage of the ghee to be supplied by the KMF to TTD,” he said.

TTD invites tenders for the supply of ghee every six months. It procures at least 1,400 tonnes of ghee twice every year to make the iconic “Tirupati Laddu” prasad.

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TTD takes on KMF

Meanwhile, Dharma Reddy also allayed fears that the quality of the laddu would be compromised as TTD had chosen another supplier over the KMF.

“As far as the ghee supplied is concerned, TTD has prescribed quality parameters. The ghee from the lowest bidder is tested in our state-of-the-art laboratory. The ghee is taken into TTD for making laddus once it conforms to our parameters,” he added.

“The laddu being made in TTD has always been of outstanding taste, colour, and longevity, and the ghee supply is taken as per the parameters prescribed by us. Whoever bags the tender has to supply the product as per the parameters,” he added.

“Unfortunately, I must also mention here that the KMF didn’t even participate in the March 2023 tender. Since TTD is a government organisation, it is not possible to give the order on a nomination basis to anybody. It has to be competitive tender and the lowest bid must be accepted,” noted Dharma Reddy.

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KMF raises questions

On Sunday, KMF Chairman Bheema Naik told reporters in the Ballari district of Karnataka, “Ghee prices will go up as we announced a hike in the milk price from 1 August.”

He added: “TTD has found a new company to provide the ghee to make the laddu prasad at a cheaper price. So, we had to stop the supply of Nandini ghee to TTD after many years.”

Naik also said that the ghee of Nandini was of global standards, and the ghee of other brands could not match its quality.

“I think that the laddus will not be the same anymore. I can also assure you that Nandini provides the best ghee in the market and goes through all quality checks. If any brand is supplying ghee for a price lower than Nandini, I assume that the quality will be compromised.”