Establishment of Shri Kshetra Alandi-Dehu-Pandharpur Parisar Vikas Samiti

This initiative was launched in 1986 for the holistic development of the pilgrim towns of Alandi and Dehu, near Pune, and Pandharpur, near Solapur, while ensuring social and environmental sustainability. To tackle the problem of water pollution in Indrayani River that passes through Alandi and Dehu, and to improve the natural environment of the region, this project, which is an example of Prof. Dr. Karad’s commitment to healthcare, hygiene, sanitation, preservation of ecology and pollution control, was undertaken. It will go a long way in addressing the environmental issues faced due to huge gatherings for religious and social occasions. Huge, beautiful and long-lasting ghats were constructed on the banks of Indrayani River and the polluting sewage was diverted away from the river. Potable drinking water is now provided to the pilgrims as "Teerth" (holy water). Frequently, cleaning programs are undertaken on the river bed and on both the banks, with participation of students, staff and other socially committed groups, to maintain the cleanliness and the sanctity of these pilgrim centres. Similarly, a number of cleanliness drives are regularly undertaken in places such as Barshi (near Solapur) and Pandharpur, and Rameshwar (near Latur) under the socially committed leadership of Prof. Dr. Karad. Prof. Dr. Karad firmly believes in and advocates, “The rule of law of any nation must run close to the rule of life of the people, and the rule of life of a human being must run close to the rule of Mother Nature, because the rule of Mother Nature, is the rule of almighty – the creator – Brahma – God”. Holistic development is a part and parcel of this thought. Accordingly, a comprehensive development plan for the holy town of Pandharpur was envisioned by Prof. Dr. Karad. Pandharpur is known as Dnyan Pandhari or knowledge centre and is one of the most important pilgrim towns, not just in Maharashtra, but the whole of India. Nearly one crore (ten million) people visit Pandharpur each year. This necessitates the creation of proper sanitation facilities, clean drinking water, healthcare and medication facilities, proper roads and parking places, and most importantly keeping the surrounding clean on both banks of the famous Chandrabhaga River (Bhima). Unfortunately, in spite of the sincere efforts of Government of Maharashtra and the local municipal authorities, the present conditions in Pandharpur are not sufficient to meet the requirements in terms of healthcare, hygiene and a clean environment. To address these issues, the comprehensive development plan is futuristic and looks at the next 100 years. Prof. Dr. Karad conceptualized, prepared and presented this plan, along with the eminent computer scientist - Dr. Vijay Bhatkar - to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra and the concerned authorities to consider for implementation. The Chief Minister and other authorities appreciated the same and indicated their willingness to implement it with some minor changes. If properly implemented, it will be a major path-breaking initiative and a role model for the development of other pilgrim centres in India.