Solapur (Maharashtra) [India], June 27 (ANI): Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh on Saturday said that state government wants annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur on the occasion of 'Ashadhi Ekadashi' to be safe and hence nine palanquins which arrives every year will be allowed to come for the pilgrimage.
Home Minister Anil Deshmukh, Health Minister Rajesh Tope jointly met the collector Milind Shambharkar, the civic commissioner and police administration officials to take stock of the preparedness for the pilgrimage.
"In light of the pandemic we will have to ensure safety while organising this traditional pilgrimage," the Home Minister said.
"Only the nine palanquins which arrives every year will be allowed to come for the pilgrimage. We are still working on the logistics on whether these will be brought by road like or by chopper," he told the media which had assembled.
He also underlined how some collectorates were issuing passes for the pilgrimage without taking either the Home Minister or the local collectorate into confidence. "I want to convey to people that such passes will not be acceptable," he warned.
He requested people to co-operate to ensure that the pilgrimage is conducted in a safe and peaceful manner. "I think Lord Vithoba will also be happy if we do so," he said.
The Home Minister also highlighted how police personnel were risking their lives in the line of duty.
"The state wants to ensure families of deceased personnel do not suffer. We have decided to let them continue in their officially allotted residences till the retirement date of the deceased. The state government is also paying each family Rs 65 lakh as ex-gratia," the Home Minister said and pointed out how police personnel above 55 were not being assigned duties in a way where their exposure to the risk of infection is minimised.
The occasion of Ashadhi Ekadashi is dedicated to the worship of Lord Vishnu across many states in India. Some also observe fast to seek prosperity and attain moksha later in life. (ANI)