| Union minister Jagmohan at the inauguration of the new throne of the goddess at Dakshineswar on Saturday. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
Union minister of tourism and culture Jagmohan announced on Saturday that his department would provide a financial assistance of Rs 10 crore in 2003 for the development of cultural and historical places in Bengal.
The minister also promised that all old buildings where Swami Vivekananda either lived or spent a good part of his monastic life would be renovated soon. “This is necessary to draw tourists from across the country and abroad,” he added.
The Union minister, on a day’s visit to the city, inaugurated a silver throne of Goddess Kali at Dakshineswar temple, replacing the earlier 148-year-old throne installed by founder of the temple Rani Rashmoni in 1855. The trustee members of the temple had decided to replace the throne 10 years ago when its wooden structure started to weaken.
Besides Jagmohan, Union minister of state for small scale industries Tapan Sikdar, state PWD minister Amar Chowdhury and general secretary of Ramakrishna Mission and Math Swami Smaranananda were present at the function.
“The new throne resembles the old one in design and look. This time we have used silver electroplated brass pipes as the pillars. The new throne is sure to last 500 years,” said Kusal Chowdhury, one of the temple trustees.
Addressing the devotees, Jagmohan said three rallies — in the names of Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Shankaracharya — would be organised from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari. “All agencies, from the state government to local organisations, will have to be involved to develop cultural places,” he added.
Singer Anuradha Paudwal donated Rs 2.5 lakh for the temple’s development. A.K. Chandra, one of the directors of P.C. Chandra Jewellers, announced that the company would not charge any fees for making the throne. Later, the minister visited Swami Vivekananda’s birthplace on Gour Mohan Mukherjee Street in north Calcutta, where he expressed his willingness to include the monk’s birthplace in the Archaeological Survey of India’s list of places which would be developed as tourist spots.
Renovation of the building, taken up by Ramakrishna Mission, would be completed in a year-and-a-half, said Swami Bishokananda, project in-charge.