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President hope for pilgrim facility

Dumka, April 23: Come Tuesday, President Pranab Mukherjee will formally lay the foundation stone of the Mega Queue Complex at Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar, paving the way for better amenities for lakhs of pilgrims arriving there every year.

However, the inauguration, rather the delayed inauguration, of the complex shows how political rivalry often cause difficulties for the common man.

This is the second time when efforts are being made to lay the foundation stone of the mega complex in Deoghar to be constructed at a cost of Rs 40 crore. According to the detailed project report, around 25,000 pilgrims will be accommodated in the complex. Besides, proper lavatories and drinking water facilities will be set up for the comfort of pilgrims.

Presently, pilgrims have to wait for hours in long serpentine queues, extending 5-10km during the month-long Shravani Mela.

Earlier, former Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay was scheduled to lay the foundation stone on July 30 last year. But it was cancelled at the eleventh hour under dramatic circumstances. In a sudden move, the Arjun Munda government had summoned state tourism department’s officials, who had completed all preparations for the ceremony, back to Ranchi, forcing Sahay to leave Deoghar unceremoniously.

It was largely believed that the BJP-led government did not intend to let the Congress at large, Godda BJP MP Nishikant Dubey in particular, take away the credit for the project.

Terming the move of the Munda government as an attack on the country’s federal system, Sahay had alleged that the state government was not sincere about people’s welfare.

Dubey, who claimed to be instrumental in getting the Centre’s approval and Rs 25 crore for the project, had also blamed Munda for playing puppet in the hands of the JMM.

Notably, the Union tourism ministry had released around Rs 11 crore to the state government about two years ago for the mega queue project proposed by the Baidyanath Dham Temple management committee in 2010. And the remaining Rs 14 crore will be released subsequently.

“All is well if it ends well... this is what I want to say now,” Dubey at whose insistence the President is arriving on a visit to the Santhal Pargana told The Telegraph.

Congratulating the President for what he termed as his generosity, Dubey said it was Mukherjee who had approved the project during his tenure as the Union finance minister.