Pandharpur pilgrimage after two years: Dist admin deploys medical teams, road facilities

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The administration has moved to bolster health facilities, including setting up vaccination camps, along the Pune-Pandharpur pilgrimage route following a recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Maharashtra. The three-week pilgrimage is expected to start from June 20 this year. Authorities expect an increase in the number of visitors since the pilgrimage has not been able to take place for the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The devotees who have not taken the two doses or the precautionary dose should be advised to complete their vaccination. Also, vaccination centers should be opened for this purpose,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said. leaders at a review meeting held recently in the run-up to the pilgrimage.

Every year thousands of devotees make the pilgrimage from Alandi and Dehu in Pune to Pandharpur. The pilgrimage starts from Pune district and passes through Satara before ending at Pandharpur in Solapur district. This year, the pilgrimage would end on July 10 on the occasion of Ashadi Ekadashi. Sources said that nearly 15 lakh devotees are expected to visit Pandharpur on Ashadi Ekadashi.

The pilgrimage includes a two-day stopover in the city of Pune, during which the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is to provide drinking water supply, health and other facilities to the devotees. “There are instructions to increase civic facilities for worshipers during the annual pilgrimage, given that attendance would be one and a half times the usual attendance,” said Ravindra Binawade, Additional Municipal Commissioner (PMC).

“We are going to install water tankers to provide enough water to worshippers. Medical teams would be available 24 hours a day for worshippers,” he said.

During the review meeting held on Sunday, Collector Rajesh Deshmukh said the administration had taken control of 37 wells on the pilgrimage route and would deploy 70 water tankers to supply water to worshippers. “A total of 112 doctors and 336 staff members will be deployed to provide health services along the route. Twenty-three primary health centers and 87 mobile medical teams will also be deployed,” he said.

The administration is also trying to set up additional mobile towers on the road for the convenience of worshipers. Notably, a mobile application has already been launched highlighting various information related to the pilgrimage like information on the stay, health facilities, tank trucks, LPG filling centers and ambulances, among others. Proceedings from Vithal mandir in Pandharpur will be streamed live on the app.

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