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This pilgrimage centre lacks cleanliness

Vijaykumar Patil
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Sad state of affairs:The Renuka Devi temple complex and its surroundings at Yellamma Gudda in Savadatti taluk are littered with garbage, including leftovers of food items.— PHOTO: VIJAYKUMAR PATIL
Sad state of affairs:The Renuka Devi temple complex and its surroundings at Yellamma Gudda in Savadatti taluk are littered with garbage, including leftovers of food items.— PHOTO: VIJAYKUMAR PATIL

The grievances of devotees visiting the Renuka Devi (Yellamma Devi) temple here have remained the same for the last several years.

The temple, situated 78 km from Belgaum city and 6 km from Savadatti town, is a major pilgrimage centre in north Karnataka region which attracts devotees from all over the State and the neighbouring States of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Goa.

However, people have to put up with lack of cleanliness and hygiene in and around the temple complex. But for a short stretch of road from the main gate to the temple area, roads leading to Savadatti town from the foot of the Yellamma Gudda are in a deplorable condition. Scarcity of water is not a new issue.

The entire temple complex and its surroundings are littered with garbage, including leftovers of food items, attracting stray dogs, cattle and pigs.

‘Impossible task'

Though people have been employed to keep the complex clean, it is impossible for them to maintain cleanliness round the clock as a large number of devotees visit the temple, especially during major festivals, a senior official of the Shree Renuka Devi Temple Development and Maintenance Committee said.

Added to this is the problem of lack of adequate accommodation and public toilets, forcing devotees to camp in open areas.

There are nearly 150 rooms for pilgrims constructed by philanthropists. The committee, headed by Savadatti MLA Anand Mamni, is planning to construct dormitories and lodges at a cost of Rs. 14 crore. The work is expected to begin soon. Lakhs of people are expected to visit the temple during the upcoming annual fairs — January 6 to 20 and January 29 to February 22. The congregation is expected to be large on ‘Banada Hunnime' on January 9 and ‘Bharat Hunnime' on February 7.

The official said arrangements had been made to draw water from Savadatti town to meet the requirement during the upcoming festivals. He said cleanliness could be maintained only with the cooperation of pilgrims. They should give up their “carefree” attitude and work for maintaining cleanliness at the temple, he added.

On Wednesday, the Executive Officer of the temple committee issued a press release appealing to philanthropic institutions and individuals to supply potable water by tankers to devotees during the upcoming festivals.

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