: Pandharpur/Mumbai, November 8, 2021
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for four laning of five sections of Shri Sant Dnyaneshawar Maharaj Palkhi Marg (NH-965) and three sections of Shri Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg (NH-965G) at Pandharpur in Maharashtra today via video conferencing. This will facilitate the movement of Lord Vitthal’s devotees coming from all over the nation and beyond to Pandharpur. In today’s programme, Prime Minister dedicated to the nation and laid foundation stone for 13 highway projects of total length 574 km with an estimated cost of Rs 12,294 crore. The Governor of Maharashtra Shri Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri Uddhav Thackeray, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari and Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Gen. V.K. Singh were present on the occasion.
The Prime Minister said the court of Bhagavan Vitthal is equally open to everyone. “And when I say Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas-Sabka Vishwas, the same sentiment is behind it. This spirit inspires us for the development of the country, takes everyone along, inspires us for the development of all”.
Reflecting on the spiritual richness of India, the Prime Minister said service to Pandharpur is the service to Shri Narayan Hari for him. He said this is the land where the Lord resides even today for the sake of the devotees. This is the land about which Sant Namdev Ji Maharaj has said that Pandharpur is there since the world was not even created, he said.
The Prime Minister noted that the specialty of India is that from time to time, in different regions, such great personalities kept emerging and showing the direction to the country. Commenting on the social significance of the Warkari movement, the Prime Minister singled out participation of women in the yatra with the same zeal as men as the key feature of the tradition. This is a reflection of the power of women in the country. ‘Pandhari ki wari’ symbolizes equality of opportunity. Warkari movement considers discrimination inauspiscious and this is it great motto, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister wished for three blessings from the Warkari brothers and sisters. He talked about their unabated affectionation towards him. He requested the devotees to plant trees on the Palkhi Margs. He also requested for making arrangements for drinking water along this walkway and many pots should be made available on these routes. He also desired to see Pandharpur among the cleanest pilgrimage sites in India in future.
For details, please see: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1770032
In his welcome address, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Shri Gadkari said “In Maharashtra’s literature and art and culture, saints have played a big role and Pandharpur is a place that specially inspires saints. Hence, I am lucky to get a chance, as a part of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to build Palkhi Marg for the warkaris at Pandharpur”. The Minister informed that the PM had stated in a review meeting that lakhs and crores of pilgrims visit places which are a part of our culture and heritage, and hence these places should have good roads and connectivity, be clean and especially have hygienic toilets. On the basis of these guidelines, 50 religious places around India, have been brought under the under the Bharatmala Pariyojana, stated Shri Gadkari. “We are also trying to build roads on Manasarovar route. It will also be possible to travel to Manasarovar from India for which work is being done with full speed”, he said.
“In Maharashtra, we have tried to complete roads for pilgrimage to Renukadevi temple at Mahurgad, Tulja Bhavani temple at Tuljapur, Shree Ambabai temple at Kolhapur, Sant Eknath Maharaj birthplace a Paithan, Gajanan Maharaj temple at Shegaon and Shirdi Saibaba temple”, stated Shri Gadkari. The Minister also assured to complete the works of the road connecting Wakhari to Pandharpur, including rebuilding a railway bridge, at an estimated cost of Rs 74 crore.
Dedicated walkways for ‘Palkhi’ will be constructed on either side of these National Highways, providing hassle free and safe passage to devotees. An estimated cost of more than Rs. 6690 crore will be incurred for four-laning of about 221 km of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg from Diveghat to Mohol in five phases across Mohol-Wakhari, Wakhari-Khudus, Khudus-Dharampuri, Dharampuri-Lonand and Lonand to Diveghat sections, while about 130 Km of Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg will also be four-laned in three phases from Patas to Baramati, Baramati to Indapur and Indapur to Tondale sections, for which around Rs. 4400 crore will be spent.
The highway projects also include more than 223 Km of completed and upgraded road projects, constructed with an estimated cost of over Rs. 1180 crore at different National Highways for boosting connectivity to Pandharpur. These projects include Mhaswad – Piliv – Pandharpur (NH 548E), Kurduwadi -Pandharpur (NH 965C), Pandharpur – Sangola (NH 965C), Tembhurni-Pandharpur section of NH 561A and Pandharpur – Mangalwedha – Umadi section of NH 561A.
The dignitaries present on the occasion included Union Ministers Shri Narayan Rane, Shri Raosaheb Danve, Ministers of State Shri Ramdas Athawale, Shri Kapil Patil, Dr. Bhagwat Karad, Dr. Bharati Pawar, Gen (Dr.) V.K. Singh (Retd.), Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Shri Ajit Pawar, MPs and MLAs of the state.
Details of the road connectivity prject can be found here.