MUMBAI, INDIA, June 10, 2018 (Mumbai Mirror): The state government has announced its plan to take over the Shani Shingnapur shrine and create a special legislation for the temple on the lines of the Mahalaxmi temple in Kolhapur. The proposal will soon be tabled before the state cabinet for approval. Speaking to Mirror, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “In the state Assembly, we had promised a law for transparency in the temple trust management. It’s a popular religious destination in India, so it requires facilities and management of that level.” However, spokesperson of the Shani Shingnapur trust, Anil Darandale, said that they were unaware of the new proposal.
After the state government takes over the temple, a chief officer will be appointed to look into its day-to-day administration. While the temple trust will have its own staff, the state will appoint its own chairperson, deputy chairperson and trustees. As part of the proposal — like the Siddhivinayak temple trust and the Shirdi Sai Sansthan trust – the Shani Shingnapur temple trust will have to report to the state law and judiciary department. While the principal secretary of law and judiciary department N. Jamadar did not comment on the government’s plan, a senior officer said, “After the takeover, the government wants to have an Act to govern the temple. Not only will we build residential quarters for pilgrims, we will also develop the roads and provide infrastructure like the waiting hall for darshan. This will streamline facilities for pilgrims — especially on Saturdays when huge crowds throng the pilgrimage site.”