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  Metros   In Other Cities  04 Nov 2017  Now ask for grace without flowery offerings at Shirdi

Now ask for grace without flowery offerings at Shirdi

Published : Nov 4, 2017, 1:46 am IST
Updated : Nov 4, 2017, 6:40 am IST

Farmers and flower sellers are angry as it affects their livelihood.

Saibaba shrine at Shirdi.
 Saibaba shrine at Shirdi.

Nashik: The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi has banned flower bouquets as offerings for the deity, though flowers will still be allowed inside the temple.

The decision has been taken to avoid harassment of devotees by flower vendors, especially children selling flowers, and has evoked strong reactions from people.

Shirdi is a major producer of flowers, some of which are also exported so the ban is likely to impact the district.

However, there was no official confirmation of the decision and the Sansthan CEO was unavailable for comment.

But Shirdi Municipal council president and Shirdi Sansthan trustee, Ms Yogita Abhay Shelke said on Friday that a majority of the flower sellers would pester the devotees to buy flowers from them. The temple complex was always strewn with flowers. Hence, the move was made.

Meanwhile, thousands who depend on the flower trade for their livelihood, beginning from farmers to flower sellers, are angry at this move.

Social activist Sanjay Bhaskarrao Kale said that the temple has a 100-year tradition of offering flowers. “Due to this tradition, the farmers from surrounding areas started growing flowers. As the popularity of the temple grew, so did the business. The decision is anti-tradition and anti-farmer as well,” he said angrily. The town of Shirdi is located in Rahata tehsil of Ahmednagar distict. Rahata APMC chairman Raibhan Aher said that floriculture began due to the local demand and several farmers in the area became flower growers. “As more areas came under floriculture, flowers were sold to other districts as well and even exported,” he said.

Coconuts have already been banned inside the temple and devotees have to break them outside. Similarly, a place outside the temple may be reserved for bouquets, a devotee said.

Tags: shri saibaba sansthan trust, shirdi municipal council