The Ahmednagar district administration has decided to allow 10,000 devotees per day to take darshan of Saibaba at the famous Shirdi shrine who possess offline passes, as per an official order.

The decision was taken keeping in view the number of COVID-19 cases on the decline.

Earlier, the district administration had on October 6 issued an order allowing 15,000 devotees who possessed online passes to take darshan per day, but in view of the fall in the cases, a proposal to allow more devotees possessing offline passes was received by authorities. As the online booking for 15,000 devotees will continue, it means a total of 25,000 devotees can now take darshan of Saibaba every day.

“As per the decision, taken in a meeting, the Saibaba Temple Trust has been permitted to allow 10,000 devotees on daily basis through the offline system while following all the COVID-19 norms,” said the official order issued by Ahmednagar district collector Rajendra Bhosale. The temple trust will have to give an undertaking that it would be following all the COVID-19 rules prescribed by the administration and the Maharashtra government, it said. During pre-pandemic times, lakhs of devotees used to visit Shirdi every day. Shri Saibaba Sansthan Trust said it will set up counters in Shirdi for distributing free offline passes for devotees who have to show their Aadhaar cards.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Tuesday reported 886 coronavirus positive cases and 34 fatalities, taking the tally in the state to 66,25,872 and the toll to 1,40,636, the health department said. The state had, on Monday, reported 686 COVID-19 cases and 19 deaths. The discharge of 948 patients in the last 24 hours took the recovery count to 64,69,739, leaving the state with 11,847 active cases. The number of people in home quarantine stood at 99,859 and those in an institutional quarantine was 1,024. Maharashtra’s case recovery rate now stands at 97.64 per cent and the fatality rate is 2.12 per cent.

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