Shravanabelagola, January 3, 2006: Karnataka Chief Minister Mr. N Dharam Singh on Tuesday gave strict directions to the officials to complete all the works in connection with the Mahamasthakabhisheka Celebrations before January 20, in time for the inauguration of the celebrations by President A P J Abdul Kalam on January 22.
Addressing the officers at the 6th State level review meeting at Shravanabelagola, the Chief Minister said all necessary directions have been issued and the Government will not cut corners for providing any additional funds as long as the proposals were concrete, justified and did not compromise on quality.
The Chief Minister also directed an Additional DGP to camp at Shravanabelagola itself and oversee the security arrangements in the wake of the Mahamasthakabhisheka Celebrations and the advent of many VIPs to the pilgrim town during the Mahashathakabhisheka, a celebration of the renunciation and non violence which were the hallmarks of the life of Bhagawan Bahubali Swami.
However, later speaking to mediapersons, Mr. Dharam Singh expressed confidence that the celebrations would pass off peacefully and the shadow of the Bangalore IISc terror attack will not be cast on the Mahamasthakabhisheka. But, he said the Government was not taking any chances and adequate measures were being taken.
The Chief Minister recollected that this was the third Mahamasthabhisheka he was participating in, the first being in 1980 with late R Gundu Rao and the second time as a Social Welfare Minister in 1993. He said the contribution of Shravanabelagola and the Mahamasthakabhisheka Celebrations in putting Karnataka firmly on the tourism map in the world couldn’t be undermined in any measure.
Mr. Dharam Singh said all efforts were being made to ensure the presence of All India Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsav. The Chief Minister said apart from Sonia Gandhi many other union ministers were also expected to participate in the celebrations.
Transport Minister Mr. Mallikarjun Kharge, speaking on the occasion, appreciated the Chief Minister for holding the review of the preparations at Shravanabelagola itself, for the first time since the celebrations commenced under the stewardship of the Union and Karnataka Governments. Pointing out that only 68 to 70 percent of the funds have been spent so far with just 26 days left for the celebrations to commence, Mr. Kharge said it was important that all works were finished in time as the message that will be taken from Shravanabelagola by the people who visit from the far corners of the world was important for the image of the State.
Meanwhile participating in the meeting, Hassan Deputy Commissioner Ashwath Narayana Gowda sought an additional grant of Rs.60 crores on behalf of the various departments toward completion of various pending works. Presenting individual reports the public works department and the national highway officials sought an additional sum of Rs.12 crore, the health and family welfare department a sum of Rs.20 lakh, and the police department a sum of Rs.1 crore toward fencing and surveillance equipments among others.
The railway officials said they would ply two to three trains per day to Hassan and Shravanabelagola from various parts of the country. The first special train from Kolkatta will operate on Jan 15th.
Principal Secretary to the Government Mr. Ramaswamy, said among various dignitaries expected to participate in the celebrations on different days apart from the President Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Vice President Mr. Bhiron Singh Shekawat, Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi were Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalliah and union ministers Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, Mr. Arjun Singh, Mr.Chidambaram and Mr.Shivaraj Patil among others.
His Holiness Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji said Mahamasthakabhisheka Celebration will aid the over all development of Karnataka and spread the message of peace, renunciation, disarmament and non-violence to the entire world community. The first Mahamasthakabhisheka of this millennium will stand for the celebration of world peace and disarmament, which was disturbed the social order, he added.
The Swamiji said President Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam will inaugurate the Rs. 1.5 crores Children’ Hospital and Mrs. Sonia Gandhi will inaugurate the boys hostel of Engineering College named after Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. The Digambar Jain Mutt will also arrange for Dasoha (free food) to all the pilgrims and tourists during the period of Mahamasthakabhisheka celebration at a cost of Rs. One Crore, he added. He appreciated the Government for the immediate completion of uninterrupted power supply, water supply, drainage and sanitation works.
Dharamasthala Dharmadhikari Dr. Veerendra Heggade, speaking on the occasion, said Mahamasthakabhisheka of Gommateshwara would popularize the name of Karnataka with the message of peace. Mahamasthakabhisheka is not only a ritual to be performed once in 12 years but also a medium giving the message of non-violence to the world. He felt the need of immediate completion of all the development works considered to be very important on this occasion. Meanwhile he thanked the state government for the permanent development works being carried out in the region.
Mr. Nirmal Kumar Sethi, President of the Akhila Bharatiya Jaina Mahasabha who was honoured by the Chief Minister on completion of 25 years in the post, urged the State Government to establish a university for Prakrit studies in Shravanabelagola to preserve the oldest language that was disappearing from the masses. He also urged the government to raise funds to protect the historical monuments, which has rich historical value.
Mr. Naresh Kumar Sethi, Honorary President of Mahamasthakabhisheka Mahotsav Samithi congratulated the State Government for the keen concern over the Mahamasthakabhisheka celebrations and for carrying out permanent infrastructure development projects in the region. He urged the state government to increase the security measures for the safety of the devotees and tourists coming from all over the world. He also appealed the state government to exempt the road taxes for the buses coming from other states during the celebration period.
Mr. Abhayachandra, Chief Whip of Karnataka Government asked the state government to sanction grants for the Jain centers of South Canara such as Karkala, Moodbidri and Venur to establish sanitation and drinking water facilities for the pilgrims visiting these places during Mahamasthakabhisheka celebration.
Chief Minister Mr.Dharam Singh released a book ‘Gommata’ by Prajavani Chief Reporter Padmaraja Dandavathi on the occasion. Earlier Mr. A R Nirmalkumar, Working President, MMC-06 welcomed. Mr.Jitendrakumar, Chairman of the MMC-6 Publicity Committee, thanked. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)