Latur: At least 1,341 stranded devotees including 824 women and some kids, will return home from Maharashtra’s Latur to Pune over the next few days following clearance by the state government, officials said here on Sunday.
The group of pilgrims had gone to attend a month-long ‘satsang’ (religious discourse) at the Mahanubhav Ashram in Nilanga sub-district here, from February 26 to March 29.
However, following the lockdown which was implemented from March 24 in the state and clamped nationwide on March 25, the pilgrims were stuck at the ashram which continued to care for them.
After unseasonal rains lashed Latur district last week, the pilgrims’ camp and tents, their belongings and food stuff were damaged after which they sought permission to return home to Shree Devdutt Ashram in Jadhavwadi, Pune.
Acceding to the request, the state government on Friday permitted the Latur Collector G. Sreekanth to make arrangements for the return of these devotees to their home-district.
45 private buses
Accordingly, over the next 3-4 days, at least 45 private buses will be leaving Latur for Pune complying with all social distancing norms and other conditions by the government in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The buses will carry only upto 50 per cent capacity, lists of devotees in each bus would be submitted to the ashram authorities and the collectorate, all pilgrims would undergo the mandatory medical tests before they are allowed to board, etc.