Three more towns in Madhya Pradesh are set to become ‘Pavitra Nagaris’ or holy towns,a status that allows the Government to prohibit the sale of liquor,meat and eggs there.
Already half a dozen towns in the state,including Ujjain,Omkareshwar,Multai,Maheshwar and Panna,have been bestowed the holy town status since the BJP came to power in Madhya Pradesh in 2003.
While Uma Bharati,seen as the Hindutva face of the BJP,started the trend when she was the chief minister,it was continued by her successors Babulal Gaur and Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
The Cabinet met on Tuesday and announced that Maihar,Chitrakut and Salkanpur,three famous religious places that attract devotees in thousands,will now become Pavitra Nagaris.
The practice is for the Government to notify a town as holy and for the local body to follow this up by issuing a notification earmarking areas in the town where such prohibition would be enforced.
At the same time,such a status also allows various departments to spend money on developing the town. For example,the Culture Department identifies temples,registers them and arranges for their maintenance and restoration,while the Civic Administration and Development,and Panchayat and Rural Development departments develop facilities for pilgrims. The Education Department is expected to focus on setting up music or cultural schools and colleges in the town.
Commercial Taxes and Home departments are entrusted with the responsibility of prohibiting the sale of liquor,while Civic Administration and Development,and Animal Husbandry departments ensure prohibition of meat and poultry products.
Though the scheme has been around for years,it has been enforced in toto only in Ujjain,where boundaries around the four major temples have been marked. In other places,it’s in various stages of enforcement.