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Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district administration has allowed Shirdi's Shri Saibaba Sansthan to resume the temple's ‘prasadalaya’ or dining facility and distribute ‘prasad’ to devotees, reported news agency PTI, quoting an official. 

The district administration has asked the temple trust to ensure that the distribution of ‘prasad’ and its consumption will not take place in the premises of the temple, said Ahmednagar collector Rajendra Bhosale.  

The ‘prasadalaya’ can function with 50% seating capacity, with staff that is fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

These facilities were temporarily discontinued due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The temple trust has been allowing 15,000 devotees to enter the temple using online passes and 10,000 devotees through offline passes on a daily basis but has kept ‘prasad’ counter closed. 

During pre-pandemic times, lakhs of devotees used to visit Shirdi every day.

The Maharashtra government had reopened religious places in the state on 7 October, after keeping them shut for over six months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

After the first coronavirus wave waned, places of religious worship were reopened in Maharashtra in November last year, but they were closed again for people after the second wave started in the state in March 2021.

Covid situation in state 

This comes as Maharashtra recorded 960 new coronavirus infections and 41 fatalities in the last 24 hours.

Among eight administrative regions of Maharashtra, the Mumbai region reported the highest 425 new Covid-19 cases, followed by 324 in Pune and 133 in the Nashik region. Kolhapur region recorded 25 new infections, Aurangabad 18, Latur 19, Nagpur 11 and Akola region five new cases.

The caseload in the state increased to 66,32,257 and death toll to 1,40,807.

As many as 1,043 patients were discharged, taking the total of recovered patients to 64,78,422. The recovery rate in the state is 97.68% while fatality rate is 2.12% There are 9,366 active cases in Maharashtra.

 

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