KOLHAPUR: Lakhs of devotees visiting the Mahalaxmi temple during the upcoming Navaratra festival can look forward to a cleaner premises.
The district administration’s proposal to impose a total ban on plastic in and around Mahalaxmi temple during the festival has received enthusiastic support from traders and shopkeepers. The Navaratra festival begins from October 1 and is set to draw 25 lakh to 30 lakh devotees.
The total ban on plastic will help keep the premises clean and reduce the strain on the sanitation staff. The devotees have been told not to carry plastic bags inside the temple.
District collector Amit Saini said, “It is an important decision, which has been supported by all the shopkeepers. All measures will be taken to ensure that the premises remains clean.”
He added that adequate number of toilets will be made available by the agencies concerned. The toilet facilities have been set up at Main Rajaram High school, PWD Office and Dakshin Darwaja. Also, Hirkani room will be developed for lactating mothers.
In order to ease the pressure on the few staff available with the traffic department, the district administration has decided to make parking facilities available at 13 to 14 places. At present, parking facilities are available at Bindu Chowk, Saraswati Talkies and Vidyapeeth Gate.
New parking places will be developed at Main Rajaram High school, Private Highschool, MLG Highschool, Shivaji Stadium, Gandhi Maidan, Petala Maidan, Dasara Chowk, Sidharthnagar Kaman, Khanvilkar Petrol Pump, Panchganga Ghat, Urdu School, Susar Baug and Lakshmipuri, which are easily accessible for visitors coming from distant places.
The district authorities have also appealed to the NGOs and other organisations to extended their support in managing various activities related to traffic management, sanitation and crowd management.
Usually, large number of women devotees visit the temple during the festival. The district police is going to ensure adequate women personnel are deployed for the security of devotees. “The premises will have police deployed for 24 hours. The police will help in managing the crowd both at the temple and at the parking places,” said Pradip Deshpande, superintendent of police.
The Kolhapur Municipal Corporation (KMC) is going to deploy buses for Durga Darshan during the festival period. The Kolhapur Municipal Transport (KMT) will soon open the counters for Durga Darshan bookings. The devotees are ferried to all nine places, where temples of different forms of Goddess Durga are located.