People with influence and VIPs will soon not get preferential treatment at Siddhi-vinayak or any of the temples that are run by the state.
Law and Judiciary Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Thursday told HT that a government resolution (GR) is in the pipeline that will abolish VIP and donor passes, and make it mandatory for all devotees at any of the 3,067 state-run temples to stand in a single queue.
The list also includes Kolhapur’s Mahalaxmi temple, Shirdi’s Sai Baba temple and the Pandharpur temple.
Around 30,000 people visit Siddhivinayak daily; the number exceeds 2.5 lakh on Tuesdays and other important dates. Only 10 per cent of the devotees get to use the separate queue and get darshan in five minutes.
“It’s not fair that people are made to wait because they are not donors or don’t have influence,” said Vikhe-Patil, adding that the state will take action against erring committees. He did not specify what it would do.
The minister laid the precedent on Wednesday by announcing that no VIP passes will be issued at the Vitthala Rukmini temple in Pandharpur, where an 18-day pilgrimage trek will end on July 21.
The decision has not gone down well with trustees. Subhash Mayekar, chairman of Siddhivinayak Temple Trust, said: “People give huge donations for which we issue platinum, gold and silver cards and are allowed to go in a separate queue. We allow senior citizens, pregnant women and parents with new-borns in this queue.”