Mumbai, 23rd: Maharashtra Chief Minister, Eknath Shinde, emphasized the importance of digital mapping in temples and shrines across the state that attract a large number of devotees. By implementing digital mapping, it would be possible to provide enhanced facilities to devotees.
Chief Minister Shinde also stressed the need for road repairs in Pandharpur city ahead of the Ashadhi Yatra, ensuring that no potholes would be visible. As a result, he directed the Urban Development Department to immediately allocate a fund of Rs 10 crore to the Pandharpur Municipal Council for road repairs.
During the State Summit Committee meeting chaired by Chief Minister Shinde, the Pandharpur Temple Development Plan worth Rs 73.80 crore and the Akkalkot Pilgrimage Development Plan worth Rs 368 crore were approved. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Revenue Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil were present at the meeting, held in the Ministry’s Cabinet Hall.
Prominent figures such as MP Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya Mahaswamiji, MLAs Sachin Kalyan Shetty, Subhash Deshmukh, Sadhan Awatade, Shahaji Bapu Patil, Ram Satpute, Ranjit Singh Mohite Patil, and Vitthal Rukmini Mandir Committee Co-Chairman Gahininath Maharaj Ausekar were also in attendance.
Chief Minister Shinde emphasized the importance of implementing the Pandharpur temple development plan with Warkari (devotee) welfare as the central focus. The plan aims to ensure the safety and convenience of devotees while preserving the ancient glory of the temple. With lakhs of devotees participating in the Yatra, the Chief Minister called for the beautification of ghats, road repairs, and various facilities to be provided. To support this, he announced an increase in the travel subsidy from Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore.
In preparation for the Ashadhi Yatra, Chief Minister Shinde called for the immediate repair of potholes on all roads in Pandharpur city. The Urban Development Department was instructed to allocate a fund of Rs 10 crore to the Pandharpur Municipal Council for this purpose. Additionally, the Chief Minister directed that all roads in Pandharpur city be concreted.
The Pandharpur Temple Development Plan encompasses various works worth Rs 73.80 crore. Presented by Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao, the plan includes the preservation and conservation of the Shri Vitthal Rukmini temple, infrastructure development, crowd management, and tourist facilities. Preservation and conservation efforts will involve removing unplanned and unnecessary connections, preventing water leakage, repairing stonework as necessary, and reconstructing lamps in the temple premises.
To ensure the compatibility of new constructions with the main temple, a high authority committee chaired by the chief secretary has recommended the formation of a committee headed by the district collector. This committee will oversee the use of black or red stones, as well as any changes or improvements in temple conservation work, new fencing, and other related tasks. During the presentation, it was emphasized that online and digital platforms should be utilized to cater to devotees in the modern age of technology.
The meeting also discussed the Akkalkot Pilgrimage Development Plan, which encompasses works worth Rs 368.71 crore. During the discussion, approval was granted for the necessary land acquisition to widen the parking lot and road. The proposed plan includes the development of parking lots, water ATMs, road improvements, construction of toilets, the development of elephant ponds and parks, business centers, accommodations for devotees, and square beautification.