Union Home Minister Amit Shah will confer the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ Award on renowned social worker and reformer Dattatreya Narayan Dharmadhikari, alias Appasaheb Dharmadhikari on April 16, Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has said.
Shah will come down for a special function at the Corporate Park at Kharghar suburb of Navi Mumbai, in a grand function, said Shinde after a high-level preparation meeting held in Raigad on Monday night.
The CM urged the officials concerned that lakhs of followers of Appasaheb Dharmadhikari, 77, are expected to participate in the event and all arrangements should be made accordingly, including parking for several thousands of vehicles.
In view of the magnitude of the event, Shinde called upon the civic bodies of Panvel and Navi Mumbai, and even the health authorities to ensure full precautions for the mega-function.
On February 8, (2023) Appasaheb Dharmadhikari — honoured with the Padma Shri in 2017 – was named for the prestigious 2022 ‘Maharashtra Bhushan Award’, comprising a medal, a citation and Rs 25 lakh.
Incidentally, his father and the renowned preacher-reformer, the late Dr. Narayan Vishnu Dharmadhikari, revered as Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari was also conferred the ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ 2008 award.
Shinde described Appasaheb Dharmadhikari as instrumental in social and society building activities like afforestation, blood donation and medical camps, shunning dowry system, empowering women and tribals, organising training for children and adult literacy centres, holding job fairs, cleanliness, eradicating superstitions, conducting de-addiction, national integration and preaching to the masses on traditional and religious values.
The famed regular gatherings, known as ‘Shri Baithaks’ were launched by late Dr. Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari in October 1943 in Raigad, and since the past over three decades, his son Appasaheb Dharmadhikari has taken them forward.
In December, 2013, Dr. Nanasaheb Dharmadhikari Pratishthan conducted the world’s largest medical camp with over 1,52,000 participants and 1,571 doctors, which created a Guinness World Record.
Besides different parts of Maharashtra and India, the Pratishthan has also organised different types of service camps in the US, Australia, Singapore, Qatar, and other countries where their followers are residing.
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