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Maharashtra State budget allots Rs 40 crore to set up sugar museum that will chronicle history and social impact of sector

The idea of a sugar museum was first mooted by Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad during the annual general body meeting of the Pune-based Vasantdada Sugar Institute.

Written by Partha Sarahti Biswas | Pune |
Updated: March 8, 2021 8:40:38 pm
Sugar and politics in Maharashtra have always been intertwined, with ruling politicians always having strong links with the sector. (Representational/File)

As 16 of the 43 ministers in the Maharashtra cabinet have direct links with the sugar sector, it does not come as a surprise that the state government has earmarked Rs 40 crore for the development of a sugar museum in Pune. The museum is expected to be constructed at the Sakhar Sankul.

The idea of a sugar museum was first mooted by Sugar Commissioner Shekhar Gaikwad during the annual general body meeting of the Pune-based Vasantdada Sugar Institute. The museum would highlight the history and social impact of the sector in the history of the state. Other than sugar, the industry also has links to power (through cogeneration) and fuel (through production of ethanol), and the museum would highlight the same. The need to set up such a museum was felt as several members of younger generations are unaware of the realities of the sector which had played a pivotal role in the formation of Maharashtra.

Sugar and politics in Maharashtra have always been intertwined, with ruling politicians always having strong links with the sector. Cooperative sugar mills has been the breeding ground for political leaderships, with many sugar barons becoming successful politicians as well. Traditionally, the sugar barons have supported the Congress and NCP. The five years of the BJP-led government in the state, from 2014 to 2019, had seen support for the sector waning, but that had not stopped many of the barons joining BJP ahead of the general elections.

While sugar museums have already been set up in some countries, like Mauritius and Germany, the proposed museum in Pune would be the largest in terms of the concept and topics it will cover.

Other than the sugar museum, Pune district would also see infusion of funds in preservation of the temple of Ekvira Devi in Karle in Maval taluka. The state budget has also announced funds for development of pilgrimage sites of Lord Bhimashankar temple in Ambegaon taluka as well as for the temple of Shri Khandoba in Jejuri in Purandhar taluka.

The eight shrines dedicated to Lord Ganesh, popularly called as Ashtavinayak shrines, have also found a mention in the budget. Five of these temples are in Pune district.

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