The Madhya Pradesh government once again extended the deadline for finishing Simhastha fair works to February.
District incharge minister Bhupendra Singh, during his visit here last month, had said all works would be finished by January-end.
The state Bharatiya Janata Party government, which till a few months back tom-tomming about initiating Simhastha works three years before the fair, is now avoiding queries on the issue.
“I have directed the concerned departments to maintain the speed and complete the task without any more delay,” Singh said on Wednesday.
Over Rs 2,500 crore have been sanctioned for numerous works of bridges, roads, ghats and Kshipra River purification but the delay in work has put the government and administration in question as pressure to complete the job has left the issue of quality far behind.
As many as 11 bridges, some on the railway line and on Kshipra River, are being built but hardly two-three have been completed.
The Chintaman Bridge, which would be vital to reach the fair area and avoid traffic from Indore-Dewas Road, is far from complete and it is anticipated that the work could continue till March.
No more than half of the work of laying pipelines to divert polluted Khan River water from culminating in Kshipra has been completed. Singh said the works completed would be dedicated ceremonially by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on January 20 while all other work would be over by February.
Efforts to pacify saints
Administrative officials have started a damage control exercise in the wake of recent warnings by saints to keep distance from Simhastha if works demanded in their akharas are not taken up.
A high-power committee meeting sanctioned new flooring of red stones from Dutt Akhara ramp to new ghat towards Narsingh Ghat worth Rs 80 lakh.
A kitchen shed, toilets in Juna akhara, boundary walls and a hall in Niranjani akhara, Digambar Akhara, Nirmal Akhara were also sanctioned.
Chief patron of Juna Akhara Harigiri last week announced that the akhara could decide to abstain from Ujjain Simhastha alleging ignorance by officials
The akhara also cancelled the ‘Nagar Pravesh’ programme which was announced earlier for January 21.
Fair officer Avinash Lavnia said works demanded by different akharas are being undertaken and no saint was annoyed.
Health dept conducts meeting ahead of fair
A divisional-level meeting of the health department was organised on Wednesday to set an agenda for the upcoming Simhastha fair in April.
During the fair, saints of various sects from across the country assemble in Ujjain and mingle with people as they take their ritual dip in the holy waters of the Kshipra River. The Simhastha is special in Ujjain as it is the seat of divine Mahakal — the Lord of all times.
Chaired by joint director health Dr Sharad Pandit, the meeting focused on the level of preparedness to be observed by the Public health centres on all routes to Ujjain.
Special emphasis was put on keeping a stock of medicines and other instruments of use ready.
“We have given all primary health centre in-charges a notice which has details of the areas they need to keep in mind of during the fair. A list of essential drugs has been given to all of them to ensure that a proper stock of medicines is kept in case of emergency,” said Pandit.
Blood bank owners have also been asked to keep a stock of all types of blood handy and provide emergency medical help.
The meeting was attended by all senior doctors, chief medical health officers and civil surgeons.
“Simhastha is a big event and considering the number of people who attend the festival, it comes as a huge responsibility on the health department to ensure that everything runs smoothly,” said Pandit.