A HOLY AMBITION
WINNER: Shirdi Temple, Ahmednagar WHY IT WON: Tech and out-of-the-box methods helped the change the temple town’s outlook
IN THE THREE YEARS SINCE HIS APPOINTMENT AS chairman of the Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Suresh Haware, a retired nuclear scientist and real estate developer from Mumbai, has transformed the temple. He gave priority to cleanliness, abolished the VIP culture and stopped leakage of funds.
Today, the halls where the devotees queue up for darshan and the temple are cleaned round-the-clock with 331 staff employed for the purpose. The kitchen, which can accommodate 3,500 people, is fully automated and human touch is avoided as much as possible to maintain hygiene. “I did simple things like fixing the floors, replacing food trollies and reducing the size of utensils as well as the chilli in the food. We are also launching a solid waste treatment plant to turn the waste food into fertiliser,” he says.
Looking for a way to responsibly dispose of the 3.5 tonnes of flowers the devotees offered daily, Haware launched a plant to make incense sticks from the used flowers. It now gives employment to 200 women and generates Rs 1.5 lakh in sales daily.
The trust is also helping the Shirdi municipal council keep the city clean for which it deputes staff and spends Rs 40 lakh a month. ■
SPIC ’N SPAN Suresh Haware overseeing work at the temple