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Asthmatics Arrived in Hyderabad to Take Fish Medicine

Hyderabad, Hundreds of asthma patients from different parts of the country have started arriving here to take the so-called miraculous fish medicine from a family which claims to have been administering it free of cost for 160 years.

Authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the event, known as 'fish prasadam', which will be held at exhibition grounds here Friday and Saturday.

Police have tightened the security in the area. Metal detectors and closed circuit television cameras have been installed in the light of last month's bomb blast at the historic Mecca Masjid here that had claimed nine lives.

Hyderabad District Collector R.V. Chandravadhan said 24 fish dispensing counters have been opened at the venue. For the first time, advance tokens were issued for the patients. He said over 8,000 advance bookings through tokens were registered till Wednesday.

The distribution of the drug will begin at 9.10 p.m. Friday and continue the next day. The organizers said the administration of the drug would continue till the last patient was served. About 300 members of Bathini Goud family and volunteers will distribute the medicine.

The department of fisheries is making arrangements to supply 100,000 murrel fish for the event. The state's Road Transport Corporation will ply special buses for patients arriving at railway and bus stations. The traffic police have also imposed restrictions on vehicular traffic around the venue.

For the past 160 years, the Goud family has been distributing the medicine free of cost on the Mrigasira Karti day of the Hindu calendar, which heralds the monsoon.

A yellow herbal paste, the ingredients of which have remained a family secret, is first put into a live three centimetre-long murrel fish and is then slipped through the throat of the patient. Dozens of family members of Goud have mastered the art of administering the drug.

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