ANDHRA PRADESH

Sagar dam decked up for Pushkarams

NAGARJUNASAGAR, AUG. 21. The highest masonry dam in the world, Nagarjunasagar Project (NSP), is getting ready for the ensuing 12-day Krishna Pushkarams. For the first time, three ghats at a cost of Rs. 1.87 crores are getting ready to provide a chance for the devotees to have a holy dip in the Krishna.

Row over ghat selection

While the main ghat is located in the down park area the remaining are in the children's park and Shivalayam area.

Finishing touches are being given to the works under the supervision of district officials and contractors to meet the August 24 deadline set by the Collector, K. Vijayanand.

However, selection of the site for the main ghat at the down park has raised many eyebrows since it is very close to a burial ground. "Normally people avoid this place. But the officials have selected a site near the burial ground throwing the sanctity of the holy dip to the winds," a priest rued.

Permission denied

The Assistant Commissioner, Endowments, V. Venkateswara Rao, told The Hindu that the NSP officials had selected the site. "The ghats have been selected as per the technical advice given by the project officials.

Though we wanted to construct the ghat at the Markandeya Swamy temple, the officials denied permission arguing that devotees may litter the place," he said.

The NSP officials, however, maintain that the present site is most convenient for the pilgrims as it can accommodate any number of people and the bed level also could be fathomed without much difficulty here.

Facelift for temples

Six temples including the historical Sri Yeleswara Mallikarjuna Swamy, Madhava Swamy and the Mahankali temples have been given a facelift.

Each temple has been given Rs. 1 lakh for renovation works.

About 60 water tanks will be kept on the roadside to cater to the drinking water needs of the pilgrims.

Special emphasis has been laid on the electrification of the ghats and the dam at a cost of Rs. 4.5 lakhs, officials said.

They expect around 80,000 devotees for the event here.