New Delhi, March 3, 2017: Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda today met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and requested Rs 300-crore financial support for the Mahamastakabhisheka festival to be held in Karnataka in February 2018.

He also demanded inclusion of Hassan as an additional city under the ‘Smart Cities Mission’ and financial support for setting up of a mega dairy plant.

“The meeting was positive. I have requested Jaitleyji to grant Rs 300 crore for putting in place basic amenities in the backdrop of the Mahamastakabhisheka festival, which attracts lakhs of piligrims,” the Janata Dal (Secular) supremo told reporters after the meeting.

Held once in every 12 years, the head anointing ceremony of the 57-foot statue of Gomateshwara Bahubali at Shravanabelagola in Karnataka’s Hassan district is scheduled to be held on February 18 next year.

Basic infrastructure like water supply and connecting roads need to be established because around 50-60 lakh piligrims, mainly Jain community, are likely to attend the festival, said Gowda, who represents Hassan in the Lok Sabha.

The Mahamastakabhisheka was last held in 2006 and the Centre had then allocated about Rs 150-odd crore for the festival. However, the current government has denied any financial aid.

Gowda had raised the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi twice last month.

Besides, the former PM requested the Finance Minister to consider if his constituency Hassan can be developed as a smart city under the central government’s Smart Cities Mission.

“Hassan city qualifies for inclusion under the Smart Cities Mission as an additional city. It also lies on a national important tourist circuit. It has become high potential city for development,” he said.

That apart, Gowda demanded grant-in aid to Hassan Cooperative Milk Producers’ Societies Union for setting up a mega dairy unit at a cost of Rs 320 crore. – News Courtesy: Business Standard