The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone and dedicated various National Highway and Road projects to the nation through video conference. Union Road Transport & Highways Minister, Governor and Chief Minister Maharashtra were among those present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said, today the foundation stone of Sreesanth Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg and Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg has been laid here. The construction of Sreesanth Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg will be done in five phases and the construction of Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg will be completed in three phases. He said that these projects will lead to better connectivity with the region and paid his respect to the devotees, saints and Bhagvan Vitthal for their blessings for the projects. He said that faith in Bhagavan Vitthal remained unwavered throughout the turmoils of history and “even today, this Yatra is one of the world’s oldest mass yatras and is seen as a people’s movement, Which teaches us that there may be different paths, different methods and ideas, but we have the same goal. In the end all sects are ‘Bhagwat Panth, It is a symbol of India’s eternal knowledge that does not bind our faith, but liberates”, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said the court of Bhagavan Vitthal is equally open to everyone. And when I say Sabka Saath-Sabka Vikas-Sabka Vishwas, the same sentiment is behind it. This spirit inspires us for the development of the country, takes everyone along, inspires us for the development of all.
Reflecting on the spiritual richness of India, the Prime Minister said service to Pandharpur is the service to Shri Narayan Hari for him. He said this is the land where the Lord resides even today for the sake of the devotees. This is the land about which Sant Namdev Ji Maharaj has said that Pandharpur is there since the world was not even created, he said.
The Prime Minister noted that the specialty of India is that from time to time, in different regions, such great personalities kept emerging and showing the direction to the country. In the south there were Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Vallabhacharya, Ramanujacharya and in the west Narsi Mehta, Mirabai, Dhiro Bhagat, Bhoja Bhagat, Pritam were born. In the north there were Ramananda, Kabirdas, Goswami Tulsidas, Surdas, Guru Nanak Dev, Sant Raidas. In the east, the thoughts of saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and Shankar Dev enriched the country.
Commenting on the social significance of the Warkari movement, the Prime Minister singled out participation of women in the yatra with the same zeal as men as the key feature of the tradition. This is a reflection of the power of women in the country. ‘Pandhari ki wari’ symbolizes equality of opportunity. Warkari movement considers discrimination inauspiscious and this is it great motto, said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister wished for three blessings from the Warkari brothers and sisters. He talked about their unabated affection towards him. He requested the devotees to plant trees on the Palkhi Margs. Also requested for making arrangements for drinking water along this walkway and many pots should be made available on these routes. He also desired to see Pandharpur among the cleanest pilgrimage sites in India in future. He said this work will also be done through public participation, when the local people take the leadership of the cleanliness movement under their command, then only we will be able to realize this dream.
The Prime Minister said that most Warkaris come from the farmers community and said that these sons of the soil -’Dharti Putras’ have kept Indian tradition and culture alive. “A true ‘annadata’ unites the society and lives the society and lives for the society. You are the cause as well as a reflection of society’s progress”, the Prime Minister concluded.
About 221 km of Sant Dnyaneshwar Maharaj Palkhi Marg from Diveghat to Mohol and about 130 Km of Sant Tukaram Maharaj Palkhi Marg from Patas to Tondale – Bondale, will be four laned with dedicated walkways for ‘Palkhi’ on either side, at estimated costs of more than Rs. 6690 crore and about Rs. 4400 crore respectively.
During the event, the Prime Minister also dedicated to the nation more than 223 Km of completed and upgraded road projects, constructed with an estimated cost of over Rs. 1180 crore at different National Highways for boosting connectivity to Pandharpur. These projects include Mhaswad – Piliv – Pandharpur (NH 548E), Kurduwadi – Pandharpur (NH 965C), Pandharpur – Sangola (NH 965C), Tembhurni-Pandharpur section of NH 561A and Pandharpur – Mangalwedha – Umadi section of NH 561A.