MNS flays Siddhivinayak temple dole to 'Shiv Bhojan' plan

Mumbai, Feb 28 (IANS): The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena has taken strong objection to the 220-year-old Siddhivinayak temple's plans to contribute Rs 5 crore to the state government's 'Shiv Bhojan' scheme for the poor.

Flaying the move, MNS spokesperson Sandip Deshpande alleged that with this step, the Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust (SSGTT) "is indulging in politics to satisfy the whims of some persons".

"We all know that the SSGTT is doing very good work in the social spheres. The donations it gets are out of the immense faith of the devotees who throng here. But, it cannot be given away to any government schemes in such a fashion," said Deshpande.

He said there are other major temple trusts like Saibaba Temple in Shirdi (Ahmednagar) or the Gajanan Maharaj Temple in Shegaon (Buldhana) which ploughs back donations in the form of 'prasad meals' to thousands of their devotees daily.

"If the SSGTT is truly serious about helping the poor, it should prepare its own meals and serve to the poor devotees going there instead of making contributions to a government scheme," Deshpande said sharply.

When contacted, SSGTT Chairman and film actor Aadesh Bandekar said it was a unanimous decision of the trustees announced on Tuesday (Feb. 25) which will now go to the state government for approval.

"This is the temple's contribution to a very good scheme implemented by the Maharashtra government intended for the welfare of the poor in the state," Bandekar told IANS without directly touching on MNS reservations.

Last Tuesday, the 220-year-old SSGTT announced plans to contribute the amount of Rs 5-crore to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's pet scheme of Rs 10 'Shiva Bhojan' thali that was launched on January 26.

The scheme has proved to be extremely popular among the poor people with daily sales of more than 15,000 plates around 140 distribution centres in the state in the pilot project.

Bandekar said the SSGTT utilizes the donation funds to help thousands of needy people upto Rs 25,000 and spent over Rs 38 crore on this so far, besides other social, educational and community activities undertaken round the year.

The Siddhivinayak Temple ranks as one of the most revered in Mumbai among both commoners and celebs who throng there on various festivals, auspicious or family occasions.



Title : MNS flays Siddhivinayak temple dole to 'Shiv Bhojan' plan


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