Sant Tukaram's 400th birth anniversary to be observed

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Mumbai, Mar 19 (UNI) The Maharashtra Government will observe the 400th birth anniversary of revered Sant Tukaram in February 2009.

To celebrate the occasion, an ambitious Rs 400 crore area development programme would be undertaken at Dehu, Alandi, Bhandara, Dongar and Pandharpur, Finance Minister Jayant Patil said while presenting the budget proposals for 2008-09 in the Legislative Assembly here today.

The area development programme includes amenities for pilgrims and improvement in ''Palkhi Yatra'' routes among other things.

He said that Vithal Rukhmini at Pandharpur and their devotee Tukaram are the state's religious deities. The ''Palkhi Yatra'' on Ashadhi Karthik day and chanting of Gyanba Tukaram is a rich tradition for last 400 years and the cultural spiritual treasure of Maharashtra, Mr Patil added.

Similarly, another Rs 10 crore has been budgeted for development of Ashtavinayak temples and creation of basic amenities like drinking water, accommodation and toilets in these pilgrim centres.

UNI MR NM BJR KN1913

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