Mumbai, December 2: The Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust, which manages the saint's samadhi at Shirdi in Maharashtra's Ahmedanagar district, will provide Rs 500 crore to build a canal network for a dam. The Nilwande Dam is located on Pravara River and is expected to benefit 182 villages in Sangamner, Akole, Rahata, Rahuri and Kopargao tehsils in Ahmednagar district and Sinnar in Nashik. A senior official of the Trust said a Memorandum of Understanding had been signed with the state government's Godawari-Marathwada Irrigation Development Corporation in this regard.
"The trust will give Rs 500 crore for the project but will not charge interest on it," he said, though he refused to divulge details of tenure of repayment etc. The official said the temple trust provides money for social work regularly but the amount it had allocated for the Nilwande Dam was "huge" and a "rare thing". Shirdi Sai Baba 100th Maha Samadhi Celebrations: Temple Gets Rs 5.97 Crore As Donations During Three-Day Festival.
A state Water Resources department official said the Nilwande Dam had begun storing water but the right and left bank canals needed to be built for it to be used for irrigation and drinking water purposes. The Nilwande Dam, this June, received Rs 2,232 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sanjivani Yojana. The Shirdi-based temple trust had earlier provided Rs 50 crore to the Maharashtra Airport Development Company for the construction of the Rs 350-crore airport there. The airport, located at Kakadi village, is now operational.