LPG cylinder of pilgrims catches fire during Pandharpur `wari`; nobody injured

An LPG cylinder caught fire during the `palkhi` or palanquin procession being taken out as part of the annual pilgrimage near Saswad town in Pune district on Thursday, officials told PTI.

Nobody was reported injured in the incident as the fire brigade personnel swiftly separated the cylinder and doused the flames, they said.

“The incident took place when some of the pilgrims from a `dindi`, a small group of devotees, who are part of the palkhi procession of Saint Dnyaneshwar and Saint Tukaram Maha were cooking food using the cylinder near Saswad town in Purandar tehsil of the district,” a fire brigade official told PTI.

“The cylinder suddenly caught fire, and the pilgrims tried to put out the fire but failed to do so. A team of fire brigade personnel that is part of the `wari` (pilgrimage) rushed to the spot, separated the cylinder and doused the fire. An untoward incident was averted due to the timely action,” he said.

Lakhs of devotees undertake the pilgrimage on foot to the temple town Pandharpur in Solapur district, where they converge on Ashadhi Ekadashi every year from all parts of Maharashtra to visit the temple of Lord Vitthal.

This year, Ashadhi Ekadashi is being celebrated on July 17.

Toll exemption for vehicles carrying pilgrims to Pandharpur

The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced a toll exemption for the vehicles carrying devotees to the temple town of Pandharpur in Solapur district of the state for the annual Ashadhi Ekadashi pilgrimage, reported PTI.

The toll waiver will be applicable from July 3 to July 21, read a notification issued by the Maharashtra government, reported PTI.

The notification said that light and heavy vehicles carrying the pilgrims and devotees will be exempt from paying the toll. Such vehicles will be given stickers and passes.

The authorities have been asked to maintain highway security patrolling near the toll booths, the notification said, reported PTI.

As per a PTI report, the state government also directed the authorities to get the roads and highways to Pandharpur, including the Sion-Panvel highway, Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Mumbai-Bangalore national highway, Pune-Solapur and Pune-Satara-Solapur highways, repaired.

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