Shirdi slated for a makeover
The area around Shirdi temple is set for a multi-crore upgrade, one that will include a network of roads and skywalks, commercial complexes and parking facilities, and landscaped gardens . Every day, around 200,000 devotees visit the Shirdi temple to pay homage to Shri Sai Baba. The temple trust manages the five to six acres of land surrounding the place of worship. Now, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) will undertake a massive makeover within a 3 km circumference around the temple land. Planners intend to model the temple town along the lines of the Vatican City so that pilgrims and tourists can enjoy the famous town in comfort. MSRDC will be awarding a contract worth Rs 250 crore in the near future. Tenders will be published in March. “We award the contract to a reputed builder with the condition that the town has to be developed along the lines of Vatican City,” said MSRDC chief engineer Subhash Nage. The development corporation studied the infrastructure of other famous pilgrim sites in the world such as Jerusalem, Vatican City and Mecca. “We found that Vatican City and Shirdi had a lot of similarities in the way the towns were laid out,” said an official. Around 28 major developers have shown interest in the project, which will be completed within the next two to three years. The MSRDC is also working with Shirdi’s municipal council to expand the road network, and build a commercial complex with a parking lot that can house 600 vehicles. There are also plans to build a hotel with at least 200 rooms for devotees. The plots for development are being provided by the Shirdi temple trust. It will be a build, operate and transfer project where the developer can reclaim the cost of development through parking and advertisement revenue,” said Nage.