(The Gist of Kurukshetra) SWACHH BHARAT
MISSION: SUCCESS STORIES
SWACHH BHARAT MISSION: SUCCESS STORIES
Pune Village Communities open their Household Toilets to Wari Pilgrims People
from homes along the route of the famous Wari pilgrimage route in Pune of
Maharashtra, are opening up their toilets for the use of pilgrims during their
15-day travel, their destination being Pandharpur.
The Palkhi or procession which is a 333 year old glorious tradition of
Maharashtra, observed across the state began this year on July 6, 2018 and ended
on 22nd July, 2018. Over 10 lakh pilgrims or Warkaris normally join this
procession from within the state and outside.
The annual pilgrimage culminates in Pandharpur, the seat of the Hindu god
Vithoba. In honour of the deity, the palanquin processions carry footprints of
the saints Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram. While the Dnyaneshwar procession leaves from
Alandi, Tukaram’s procession begins at Dehu. Upon reaching Pandharpur on Ashadhi
Ekadashi, these devotees take a holy dip in the sacred Chandrabhaga River before
proceeding to visit the Vitthal temple.
During the 250 km walk, the travelers normally make 15 halts on each of the
routes in certain villages. It is common for residents of those villages to
offer food and refreshment. During the last two years, as a part of the Swachh
Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G) campaign more than two lakh toilets were built
across the district.
Even though community toilets numbering 500 were set up on one route and 700
on the second route, they were never adequate to meet the requirement of the
masses on their long walk. The challenge each year was enormous.
However, this year was different. The CEO, Zilla Parishad (ZP) Pune, Mr.Suraj
Mandhare had made an innovative appeal to the village communities. He requested
all private households on the pilgrimage routes to offer their private toilets,
most of which were constructed under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan during the last 2
years for the use of these Warkaris (pilgrims). A white flag has been set up on
every toilet to indicate that it is freely available for the use of the weary
travelers. The procession is certainly colourful with people carrying red and
yellow flags. Hence the flags pointing to toilets are white so they stand apart
”To my greatest surprise, people have started responding to this appeal
overwhelmingly. Even the economically disadvantaged are opening their homes for
the pilgrims,” the CEO said. The appeal was made through block officials, gram
sevaks and schools teachers, the message also carried in newspapers and through
posters. He was happy that the sanctity of the whole ceremony was preserved
during and after the pilgrimage.
In addition, most of the arrangements on the Palkhi route such as water
supply and health facilities have been completed by the Zilla Parishad, Pune
administration. Further, the 2P office has introduced the provision of medical
aid through motorcycles for quicker access and a control room has been set up to
operate day and night.