Karnataka Minister A Manju today called on Union Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma and sought central assistance for organising the biggest Jain festival, ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’, in Hassan district which is estimated to cost Rs 1,070 crore. Celebrated once in 12 years, the ‘Mahamastakabhisheka’ — the anointment of Gomateshwara statue at Shravanabelagola in Hassan district — will be held between February 7 and February 26 next year. The state government has released Rs 263 crore for organising the festival, out of which Rs 88 crore is for upgrading infrastructure such as roads, he said. The funds are being utilised for creating temporary and permanent infrastructure for the benefit of devotees, tourists and visitors, he said in an official statement.
Manju, also chairman of the Mahamastabhisheka committee, told the Union minister that the Karnataka chief minister had written letters in February to the prime minister and the finance minister seeking central aid. The state minister said that funds have also been earmarked for various projects including preserving the hills, setting up higher seat of education for Prakrit languages, creating a library and research centre for historians. In 2006, the Centre had allocated Rs 30 crore for the festival, while the state spent Rs 90 crore.