Gujarat to rehabilitate jobless doliwalahs
Times of India
The Girnar ropeway project will rehabilitate several people who were earning a living by ferrying devotees to the pilgrim centres on palanquin. These 70 people will be out of job after the ropeway comes from Bhavnath Taleti to Ambaji temple.
Principal secretary forest and environment S K Nanda said that when the project was designed in September 1995, it was found that the life span of these doliwalahs was not more than 50 years, owing to the labourious task of carrying pilgrims up the 2.3 km stretch which had some 5,000 stairs. "This job was adversely affecting these 70 people who ferried people on a palanquin," said Nanda.
Nanda added that a committee was formed and it was decided to rehabilitate these doliwalahs and that they would get jobs under various projects. "Some would be given shops at the Bhavnath Taleti or at the Ambaji temple for snacks, flowers and other offerings for the temple. Some of them will also be employed as cabin operators by the company which will set up the project," said Nanda.
Forest officials said when the project was finalised, there were 95 such doliwalahs. However, their number has dwindled and as per the last reports, there were not more than 70 doliwalahs who were still in the business. They added that some might even continue in the business only for the weak and disabled pilgrims who want to visit the Jain temples. The ropeway will be a straight alignment from Bhavnath Taleti and will end at Ambaji temple. However, for those wanting to visit the Jain temples, they will have to go down nearly 2,000 steps from the ropeway station.
Officials said, as per an estimate of 100 devotees only 30 visit Jain temple while the rest only visit Ambaji temple.