Pune: The civic body is refusing to spend money on installing pandals for Warkaris - pilgrims going to Pandharpur. Wari is an 21 days annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur. Now corporators may spend money to install pandal for warkaris.
The issue was also raised during the General Body meeting on Thursday. City Mayor Mukta Tilak had cleared corporation stand on it.
To oppose civic body’s decision, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) corporators entered the General Body meeting dressed up as Warkaris. They questioned the administration’s decision not to spend money for Warkaris welcome. The pilgrims will arrive in the city on a two-day halt in the first week of July.
Corporators pointed out that the State government issued an order last year stating that no money will be spent on the celebration of festivals and cultural events.
The State had issued an order on the basis of Mumbai High Court ruling on August 2, 2017.
Each year, the corporation raises pandals during Palkhi procession in the city. However, this will not happen from this year. While speaking to Sakal Times, Mukta Tilak said, “The corporation will provide basic services like water, sanitation, fire brigade and medical aid. For raising pandals to welcome pilgrims, the corporation will not spend money. However, local corporators can raise pandals from their side. It is individual corporator’s decision.”
All party corporators demanded expenditure of money on raising the pandals to welcome Warkaris. NCP corporators Dilip Barate and Yogesh Sasane said, “The palkhi is 333 years’ old tradition. We should not stop welcoming them in the city. It is our duty provide them basic services.”
Objections from corporators
BJP corporator Sushil Mengade said, “If the corporation is facing money crunch, corporators should give their one month’s remuneration to raise funds for Warkaris.”
Arvind Shinde, Congress leader asked, “The State government is giving Rs 5 crore to private Shivsrushti. So how can they say no to Warkaris?”
High Court ruling
It all changed after the writ petition filed by Pradeep Jangam of Bhayandar against Bhayandar Municipal Corporation over the issue of spending public money by the corporation on celebration of different festivals. The Mumbai High court bench of A S Oka and Vibha Kankanwadi issued the order on August 2, 2017. The court said that municipal corporations shall follow the law laid down by court in judgement and ensure that municipal funds are not utilised other than for providing basic services mentioned in section 63 and 66 of Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act.