Is Gujarat government interested in developing Hindu pilgrimage sites only?
The reply to an application filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act has indicated that the grant of funds by the Gujarat government has largely been restricted for the development of Hindu pilgrimage sites only with little funds flowing for the development of the pilgrimage centres of other religions.
The RTI application was filed with the Gujarat Pavitra Yatradham Vikas Board (GPYVB) in August, 2011 by an employee of health department who sought to know about the amount spent by the government on important pilgrimage centres in Gujarat.
Initially the board furnished only incomplete information but after repeated requests and after approaching higher authorities, the demanded information was provided. In the reply to the application, the GPYVB stated that during the period from 2003 and 2011 the board granted funds worth Rs. 38 crore for the development of Hindu temples and for organizing fairs at the temples. However, the reply also states that no money was allotted during the period for any pilgrimage site of other religions, the only exception being the Palitana temple belonging to the Jain community. Where no amount spent on religious sites belonging to Muslims, Sikhs or Parsis, almost Rs. 2 crore was spent on Palitana temple.
The reply also shows that the maximum amount was sanctioned for the Kheda district, followed by Dangs and Junagarh.