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

India Today - - SAFAIGIRI AWARDS - —Ki­ran D. Tare

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

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