Nagpur: A devotee knocked the judiciary’s doors for immediate renovation and repairing of the popular Tekdi Ganesh temple citing danger to lakhs of pilgrims visiting the premises everyday.Shyam Agrawal, through his counsel Ganesh Khanzode, warned that a major tragedy is waiting to happen as the temple is in a highly dilapidated condition. He contended that the condition of temple was worsening with each passing day, as debris of roof have started falling.

He warned that with the upcoming Ganesh Festival starting from September 5, the number of devotees would jump substantially, thus causing more pressure on the temple’s structure, that was constructed in 1975.

A division bench comprising justice Bhushan Gavai and justice Vinay Deshpande on Thursday issued notices to respondents, including charity commissioner, assistant charity commissioner and Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) commissioner asking them to submit a detailed reply within a week.
The petitioner informed that the temple’s trust — Tekdi Ganesh Mandir Samiti — first proposed to renovate/reconstruct the temple in 2004 with a provision of better facilities to pilgrims. However, there was a legal hurdle as the land belonged to defence and therefore, their no-objection certificate (NOC) was needed for going ahead with any type of construction.

The defence establishment finally granted NOC on May 13, 2008. Accordingly, the trust’s advisory board submitted the new construction plan to the NMC in October 2008, which was sanctioned in 2013. Even the funds were reserved for the new temple complex.

However, a dispute over the type of marble for flooring erupted between the trustees themselves. They were given two options of using purely pinkstone, which cost Rs15 crore, and marble with pinkstone worth Rs10 crore at the time. Some trustees then lodged complaints of alleged irregularities and vested interests in the entire affair with the charity commissioner’s office, where the issue is pending.

On August 5 last year, a structural audit of the temple was conducted by PT Mase and Associates. The firm strongly recommended to demolish the existing structure within a year as it could collapse anytime. Already, many parts of its roof and walls had started collapsing. After receiving many complains from the devotees, the NMC finally issued a demolition notice to the trust on July 15 this year.Khanzode pointed out that the dispute should not be allowed to come in between reconstruction of temple which was badly needed following risk to the devotees. He clarified that there was no stay from the charity commissioner’s office as speculated.

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