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Karnataka is still awaiting financial assistance from the Centre for Jain festival 'Mahamastakabhisheka' in Hassan district scheduled to be held in 2018, a state minister said today. Celebrated once in 12 years, the 'Mahamastakabhisheka' -- the anointment of Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola -- will be held between February 7 and February 26 next year. "Preparations for the biggest Jain festival are in full swing. Already, 75 per cent of the work has been completed.
Works on road connectivity and other infrastructure are in progress," State Minister for Sericulture and Animal Husbandry and also in-charge of Hassan district A Manju told reporters here. The state government has released Rs 263 crore for organising the festival, out of which Rs 88 crore is being spent on roads and other infrastructure development, he said. Asked if the central government has released any fund for the festival, Manju said, "We are still waiting for that. We had submitted a proposal seeking Rs 500 crore long ago." In 2006, the Centre allocated Rs 30 crore for the festival, while the state spent Rs 90 crore, he said. Asserting that the entire work will be completed in time, the state minister said more funds were required as the government were using superior technology to ensure visitors were able to get a 360-degree view of the entire anointing ceremony. The entire ceremony will be telecast live via website and mobile app for the benefit of the entire Jain community across the world, he added. About 12 temporary townships are being set up on 487 acres of land to accommodate more than 25,000 visitors, he said. Water supply facilities are being upgraded, he said. Early this year, former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda requested the central government to ensure a grant of Rs 500 crore for 'Mahamastakabhisheka', which the finance ministry had denied.
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