PLACES

SHRIRAMPUR

The head-quarters of the taluka bearing the same name, Shrirampur is a municipal town with a total population of 39,492 souls as per the Census of 1971. Being the head-quarters of a taluka and a Panchayat Samiti, located therein at Shrirampur are the offices of the Mamlatdar and the Block Development Officer. It is a seat of the Civil Judge (Junior Division) and First Class Magistrate. The jurisdiction of the police station at Shrirampur extends over seventy-four villages. The offices of the Ahmadnagar District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd., the Ahmadnagar District Urban Central Co-operative Bank Ltd., Bank of Maharashtra, [Now nationalised.] the Bharat Industrial Bank Ltd., the Maharashtra State Co-operative Bank Ltd. and State Bank of India are located at Shrirampur. [Information as per the District Census Hand Book, Ahmadnagar District, 1961 Census.] The town has a post and telegraph office and a railway station known as Belapur. Wells form the main source of water-supply and scarcity of water is often felt. The town has a Government rest-house too. The agricultural produce market committee was established at Shrirampur in 1950, the commodities regulated being gur, gram, linseed, safflower, mug, math, udid, ground-nut, sesamum, cotton, cotton-seed, tur, kulthi, jowar, bajri, wheat, mosambi as also cattle, sheep and goats. The area of operation of the committee extends over 75 villages. The weekly market which is also a cattle market is held at Shrirampur on every Friday. A fairly big fair is held in the town in honour of Shri Rama from Chaitra Shuddha 9 to Chaitra Shuddha 11 when about 25 to 30 thousand people visit the temple to pay homage to the deity.

The municipality was established at Shrirampur on September 1, 1947 and it covers an area of four square miles. The municipality is governed under the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965. The municipal council is composed of 23 members, of whom two are co-opted and twenty-one are elected. Of the elected seats, two each are reserved for women and the scheduled castes. The Chief Officer is the executive head of the municipality. The municipal functions are looked after by various sub-committees, viz., standing committee, public works committee, education committee, sanitation, medical and public health committee, water-supply and drainage committee and planning and development committee.

The total receipts of the Shrirampur municipality during the year 1961-62 amounted to Rs. 6,22,342, of which the receipts from the municipal taxes came to Rs. 4,23,392, the per-capita municipal lax being Rs. 18.57.

The total income [The income and expenditure of the municipality during 1970-71 was Rs. 22,93,000 and Rs. 21,52.000 respectively.] of the municipality during the year 1965-66 amounted to Rs. 12,87,207 and was composed of municipal rates and taxes, Rs. 6,32,561; revenue derived from the municipal property and powers apart from taxation, Rs. 52,897; grants and contributions. RE. 5,99,158 and income from miscellaneous sources, Rs. 2,591.

The total expenditure of the municipality during the same year came to Rs. 16,53,572 and comprised general administration and collection charges, Rs. 66,343; public safety, Rs. 65,013; public health and convenience, Rs. 11,92,328; public works, 2,06,313; public instructions, Rs. 40,000 and miscellaneous expenditure, Rs. 83,575.

The total income of the municipality during the year 1967-68 amounted to Rs. 14,54,434 and was composed of municipal rates and taxes, Rs. 8,22,846; revenue derived from municipal property and powers apart from taxation, Rs. 66,535; grants and contributions, Rs. 1,09,793 and income from miscellaneous sources, Rs. 4,55,260.

The total expenditure of the municipality during the same year came to Rs. 10,92,831 and comprised general administration and collection charges, Rs. 1,73,156; public safety, Rs. 62,205; public health and convenience, Rs. 4,55,274; public works, Rs. 3,16,046; public instructions, Rs. 12,628 and miscellaneous expenditure. Rs. 73,522.

The total income of the municipality during the year 1968-69 including the extraordinary heads amounted to Rs. 17,73,118.86 paise while the expenditure during the same year came to Rs. 15,99,366.92 paise leaving a balance of Rs. 1,73,751.94 paise.

For public convenience the municipality maintains one vegetable market known as the Nehru Bhaji Market and a beef market. The municipality has built twenty-six platforms at a cost of about Rs. 37,380 where a weekly market is held. The municipality has also constructed a separate building for its office.

The medical facilities to the town populace one provided by the private medical practitioners and a municipal dispensary with twelve beds. The veterinary dispensary is conducted by the Zilla Parishad. The town gets piped water-supply through jack wells. Underground drainage system has not been introduced in the town and there still exists the surface drainage system.

Primary education has been made compulsory in the town and is managed by the Zilla Parishad. The municipality pays an annual contribution at five per cent of the letting value of the house tax towards it. Facilities for secondary and higher education are provided by Modern High School, the Janata Vidya Mandir, the Karamshi Jethabhai Somaiya High School, the B. R. Rathod Kanya Vidyalaya, the Night High School, the Anand Bal Vidya Mandir, the Nutan Gujarati School and Shrirampur Urdu School and two colleges, viz., the R. B. Narayanrav Boravke College and the C. D. Jain College of Commerce. A library is also conducted in the town.

Towards fire service the municipality maintains two fire-fighters. The total length of roads in the municipal limits is 18.87 kilometres, of which a length of seven kilometres is asphalted, of 11.50 kilometres metalled and of 0.37 kilometre unmetalled. The municipality maintains one open air theatre constructed at a cost of about Rs. 66,400. The municipality has constructed a colony at a cost of about Rs. 2,91,500. The cremation grounds and burial places are managed by the municipality.

The only object of interest in the town is the temple of Rama mentioned earlier. In what follows is a description of the temple and the fair held in honour of Shri Rama.

" The Shri Ram temple is a modern structure and is about 35 years old. In the front portion of the temple there is a fire-pit (dhuni) and ashes from which are believed to be capable of curing minor ailments. In the interior of the temple there is a shrine (gabhara) on the model of a small temple in which are installed images of Rama, Laxman and Sita about 2 'x3' in height made of white marble. In the exterior portion of the gabhara there are images of Vithal-Rukmini, Dattatraya, Savata Maharaj, etc. Adjacent to this temple is the temple of Parasnath. The temple of Shani, Hanuman, Mahadev, Ganapati, etc., are located in the prangana of the main temple.

The ornaments of Lord Rama and Laxman consist of silver crowns, ear-rings, anklets, and a golden necklace. Besides these ornaments, they also have silver diadems. The image of Sita has a gold necklace of gold putalis, a waist belt of silver and a mangalsutra.

The deities are worshipped every morning. There is a kakadarati in the early hours of the morning and shejarati at night. Bhajan and kirtan are performed during Chaturmas, i.e., from Ashadha Shud. 12 to Kartika Shud. 11, and also in the Adhik Mas (intercalary month). Offering of food is made to the deity everyday by way of naivedya.

The devotees of Lord Rama believe that he is capable of fulfilling their desires. They, therefore, promise to distribute gur and sweetmeats, etc., or prepare dress for the deity on getting a son, or for getting relief from bodily ailments, etc.

A fair is held annually from Chaitra Shud. 9 to Chaitra Shud. 11 at Shrirampur to celebrate the birth anniversary of Lord Ramchandra.

People belonging to all castes among Hindus participate in the fair. During the three days of the fair about 25 to 30 thousand people visit the temple to pay homage to the deity. While going for the darshan of the deities they carry with them coconut, flowers, sugar-candy, incense sticks, kumkum, ghee for feeding the nandadeep and other articles of worship. All pilgrims, irrespective of caste, can go upto the metal railing in front of the images and offer the materials to the deities.

Amongst the entertainments provided at the fair the pride of place goes to the programme of wrestling bouts held on the third day of the fair. Well-known wrestlers from distant parts of India participate in the bouts and people from round-about villages attend the programme in large numbers. The wrestler whose performance is adjudged to be the best, is sumptuously rewarded. The other items of entertainment are exhibitions, magic feats, swings, giant wheels, etc.

Stalls of metal utensils, sweetmeats, photographers, stationery, cutlery, etc., are opened during the fair. The total value of the sales is estimated to be Rs. 50 to 60 thousand." [Census Report on "Fairs and Festivals in Maharashtra, 1961":]

Another fair, viz., that of Shani is held on Chaitra Shud. 10. On the third day a programme of wrestling bouts is staged.

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