On one side while the entire premises of the Somnath temple was being swept with automated sweeping machines ensuring no speck of dirt left behind, the area hardly 100 metres from the temple boundaries spoke of administration’s apathy.
The “Swachh Bharat” mission launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has failed to reach the holy town of “Prabhas Patan”, the seat of Lord Somnath from where BJP patriarch L K Advani kicked off his Rath Yatra in October 1990. He along with PM Modi are trustees of the Somnath Temple Trust with former Gujarat chief minister Keshubhai Patel the Trust chairman.
In the lack of any sewage plan, the entire waste water from Prabhas Patan area is dumped into the sea right beside the Somnath Temple. There is no planning on the part of civic authorities for waste disposal from the area resulting in garbage dumping in the open. The same has been repeatedly brought to the notice of civic authorities but going by the present situation it seems they have turned a blind eye to it.
The hawkers and residents around the Somnath Temple lamented about the situation terming it to be neglected for years now. “The situation has gone worse but not any better. What is the point if there is cleanliness inside the temple premises but dumps of garbage right outside it as the entire city waste disposal is dumped here,” rued a hawker near the temple.
The Veraval-Patan city BJP president, Pravin Ruparelia, in his recent written complaint submitted against its own party run Veraval-Patan joint municipality, cited high neglect of cleanliness in the city that has resulted in the outbreak of diseases like chicken guniya, malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.
“It is really sad that the Swachh Bharat campaign started by Modi who himself is the Somnath temple trustee could not reach this holy place where thousands of pilgrims visit daily from across the country. Similar is the condition of Veraval city that has a population of nearly 2 lakh,” he said.
When contacted the civic authorities, the chief executive officer of Veraval-Patan joint municipality Tilak Shastri admitted that the cleanliness situation is certainly bad but assured that the issue would be soon taken care of.
“The underground drainage project has been pending for one reason or the other for a long time now but with the recent state government’s approval, the work would soon start, hopefully this month itself as was decided in the meeting of all agencies held two days back,” said Shastri.
Further, he added, “With this, the problem of disposal of waste water would be permanently resolved. The underground storm and waste water project would cater to both the towns of Veraval and Prabhas Patan taking care of all the issues faced by the residents at present,” said Shastri.
The underground sewage project for Veraval-Patan at an estimated cost of Rs 110 crore would take an estimate time period of 18 months. The plan includes installation of 10 pumping stations, a sewage treatment plant and a solid waste dumping site at an area of 21 acre. There are a total of 14 wards in Veraval-Patan with 12 under Veraval and two Prabhas Patan.