Pune: The Sant Tukaram Maharaj palkhi procession, in which thousands of pilgrims (warkaris) take part from Dehu and Alandi to Pandharpur, is round the corner. The procession has not been exempted from the plastic ban. However, the local body does not have any system to curb the menace of plastic created by warkaris during the procession.
Usha Chavan, sarpanch of Dehu Gram Panchayat, said, “We don’t have any system to deal with plastic pollution, which will be created by warkaris. Just like every year, we have to bury or burn it. We will collect it after the warkaris move out of Dehu.”
It has been a year since the panchyat has banned use, sale, handling, storage, manufacturing and transporting of plastic. It has been strictly implemented. They are promoting and implementing ‘Nirmal Wari’ this year as well.
“In the Nirmal Wari initiative, there will be mobile toilets, tree plantation and clean river campaigns. During the wari, medical kits will be given to pilgrims and villagers will be providing them with food. Also, we have instructed health department to monitor drinking water to be provided to warkaris,” Chavan said.
According to panchayat member Santosh Hagawane, the zilla parishad will provide funds amounting to Rs 5 crore to the panchayat next year for the development of a pilgrim centre, under which a plastic recycling plant will be set up.
Hagawane said, “This year, the number of warkaris will be more as compared to last year. There were three lakh warkaris last year. Over five lakh devotees are expected to assemble at Dehu this year. Due to good monsoon last year and this year, farmers will participate in procession in a large number.”