Pune: To make this year’s Waari (annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur) eco-friendly and plastic free, Shri Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Sansthan Trust (SDMST) and Aamhi Varkari Sanstha (AVS) have decided to provide green plates and steel plates and glasses to the devotees (warkaris).
Palkhi procession of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj will begin on July 6 from Alandi. Since Alandi Municipal Council does not have any system to recycle or reuse plastic menace caused by the warkaris, the administration has decided to sell the plastic waste to the scrap dealers after the procession proceeds towards Pune. Dnyaneshwar Mauli Veer, President of SDMST, said, “There are 400 dindis (group of pilgrims) registered with us. We have communicated to all the Dindi presidents to avoid usage of plastic during the procession in the view of the ban on plastic. Only the rain cover or raincoat has been allowed by the State
“Our trust is going to provide 1,000 leaf plates (patravalis) to each dindi so that they could be disposed of easily and could be turned into compost, which will be then distributed amongst farmers. This year, awards will be given to three dindis for maintaining cleanliness during procession,” he added. Similarly, AVS is going to provide steel plates and glasses so that there should be no menace of plastic plates in the environment.
Rajabhau Chopdar, President of AVS, said, “The warkaris will be coming in huge numbers and they will not follow any rules and regulations for any kind of disposal. So our aim is to keep the environment clean by avoiding any kind of menace. For this reason, we will be providing more than 50,000 steel plates and glasses to the warkaris, so that it could be reused again and again without causing any damage to the environment.”
Advocate Vikas Patil, Chief of the palkhi procession, said, “After the arrivals of dindis on July 5 at Alandi, we are going to make them aware once again about the plastic ban. Now, we are chalking out an extensive awareness programme, which includes building four electronic boards that will run video and audio clips related to the plastic ban.”
The Alandi Municipal Council will be providing water, free medical service and light to the warkaris. Sameer Bhumkar, Chief Officer of the council, said, “This year the number of warkaris will be more in number, in fact from today itself the warkaris has started arriving at Alandi. There will be 650 mobile toilets installed in the town and the council will be providing light and water in the toilet. Also, the council will be providing with CCTV and public announcement system which will be controlled by the police.”
“Also there will be a team of 23 doctors who will be stationed at certain places in the town. And 10 per cent of beds will be reserved in all the hospitals in town. Along with it, all the medicines will be given free of cost till July 8,” he said. Bhumkar also shared that after the implementation of ban around two quintals of plastic was collected from the town. As they do not have any mechanism to reuse or recycle it, they sell it to the scrap dealers. Even now, after the procession proceeds from the town, the plastic waste will be collected and it will be sold to the scrap dealers. Also, the Alandi police are taking measures to prevent any mishaps during the procession. Dattatray Darde, Sub Inspector of Alandi police station, said, “The Alandi police station has 50 police personnel. In addition to that, there will be 800 extra police force, 750 home guards and 300 police ‘Mitra’. Also, there will be several squads of chain snatching, missing persons, Nirbhaya, hawkers, beggars and bomb detection. Along with it, there will be one drone which will be an additional update to us,”
“From July 4 to 7, all kinds of vehicles will be prohibited to enter the town. At every 500-metre distance, there will be check post. The armed guards will be taking a round of the city. There are 64 CCTV cameras installed in Shri Dnyaneshwar Maharaj temple and 40 cameras are installed in the town which will be controlled by our department.”