Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday suggested a facelift for the famous Somnath temple and called for active participation of the trust managing it to spread awareness about cashless transactions in nearby towns.

These suggestions were made by Modi at the 116th meeting of trustees of the Shree Somnath Trust (SST), which manages the ancient temple located in Gir-Somnath district, around 400km from Ahmedabad. The Prime Minister, who is one of the trustees, attended the meet on the second day of his Gujarat visit.

During the meeting, it was also decided that former Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel would continue as the trust Chairman for 2017, said a PIBrelease. Besides Modi, other trustees – LK Advani, Amit Shah, Keshubhai Patel, PK Lahiri, JD Parmar and Harsh Neotia – were also present.

Modi suggested that the entire campus of the temple be upgraded with water, greenery and various other facilities, said the release.

The PM recommended that the trust actively participate in the efforts to make Veraval and Prabhas Patan towns, located near the temple, cashless. The trust should organise special festivals in all major cities.

Talking to reporters later, Lahiri, the trustee- secretary, said Modi spent about 20 minutes more than the scheduled time for the meeting and discussed various issues related to development of the pilgrimage town. “Under the Centre’s PRASAD scheme, we intend to build a facilitation centre for tourists who come here from across the country. The Centre has also given its nod for three projects of solid waste management,” he said.

PRASAD is a ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive’ launched by the central government.

At the meet, all the trustees agreed to reappoint Keshubhai as the Chairman for 2017, he said. “A proposal for this was put forward by the PM and supported by Advaniji.” A discussion was also held on setting up a high-tech museum and constructing a walk way along the sea shore near the temple.

“We discussed a project to build a walk way along the sea shore near the temple to enable people to have a peaceful stroll. The Centre would take a call on the project after it gets environmental clearance,” Lahiri said.

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