Godavari Pushkarams in big way

  • President, PM invited
  • Crores of devotees expected

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao hasA�extended an invitation to President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to participate in the Godavari Pushkarams being held for the first time in the Telangana State after its formation from July 14 to 25 this year.

Disclosing this in the State Assembly during question hour on Wednesday, Minister for Endowments Indrakaran Reddy exuded confidence that either the President or the Prime Minister would oblige the invite and participate in the Godavari Pushkaram, which would be held once in 12 years and which the TRS Government has planned to organize on a massive scale on the lines of Kumbh Mela.

The Endowments Minister further said that the Chief Minister, keeping in view the importance and religious sentiments attached to it, was very particular that no stone should be left unturned in making the pushkaram in the newly formed state a memorable one. For this,A� a Cabinet Sub-Committee was constituted to review and discuss with allA� departments concernedA� for taking all the required measures to ensure that there would be no hiccups or hitches in providing all the needed facilities for devotees.

Based on the recommendations of the Cabinet Sub-Committee, the Endowment Minister said,A�a proposal was submitted to the Central Government with an estimated cost of Rs.907.20 crores and requested itA�for release of Rs.750 crores as aA�special grant. The State Government has allotted Rs.100 crores in the last budget and another Rs.100 crores in the current budget in this regard, he added.

Indrakaran Reddy further said that based on the past experience, especially the pushkarams held in 2003 in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, the TRS Government was takingA� all steps to ensure that the devotees would not face any difficulty or hardships. While three crore devotes participated in the 2003 pushkarams, this year as many as six to seven crore are expected not only from all parts of the state but also from the neighboring states of Maharashtra, Tamilnadau, Karnataka, Chittisgarh etc.

The Endowments Minister pointed out that there were a total number of 27 bathing ghats on the banks of River Godavari in the five districts through which it flows and the pushkarams organized, steps have been taken this year to provide as many as 88 bathing ghats for which an amount of Rs.82 crores have been released. Various related works like roads, toilets, washing rooms, food stalls, shelters etc are in full progress which was being reviewed by the Chief Secretary from time to time. As a matter of fact,A� besides the respective District Collectors, one IAS Officer has been appointed as Special Officer to oversee the works each year. All the works connected with the pushkarams are expected to be completed by the end of April-May in time for the big occasion, he explained.

The State Government was also making adequate transport facilities for the crores of devotes expected to come for which discussions were held with RTC authorities to provide as many as 900 to 1500 bus services on various routes where the pushkarams would take place. Besides, the SCR authorities were also requested to provide special train services wherever possible for the devotees to reach the nearest point by trains.

Earlier asking numerous supplementary questions,A� TRS members Koppula Eashwar, Divakar Rao and Congress members Ajay Kumar, D.K. Aruna and BJP member Prabhakar and others brought to the notice of the government about the untold sufferings and hardships faced by the devotees during the 2003 pushkarams and wanted that such problems would notA� recur this time. They all stressed the needA� for more transport facilities, special bathing ghats and shelter for women etc. (NSS).

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