From medical, IT, teaching professionals to businessmen and homemakers, around 15,000 volunteers are part of Pramukh Swami Nagar, which is seeing a daily average of over 50,000 visitors.
‘Pramukh Swami Maharaj Nagar’ spread over 600-acre site on the Sardar Patel Ring Road (SPRR) on the outskirts of Ahmedabad has been constructed for the centenary celebrations of Pramukh Swami Maharaj, spiritual guru and head of Bochasanwasi Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) of Swaminarayan sect who had passed away at Sarangpur in Botad district of Gujarat on August 13,2016 at an age of 95 years.
41-year-old Namrata Shah from Mumbai had quit taking tuitions entirely for a year to volunteer with her two teenaged sons for two months. Shah, who has been earning Rs 10,000 per month from private tuitions for school students, says it is her service to the sect.
For days with higher footfall like weekends, there are 24 machines to make rotis with one machine making 2,000 rotis in an hour. While the entire food is cooked on a wood fire thermo boiler which has the capacity to cook 50,000 people in two hours, there is no heat or fumes in the kitchen. A total of 100 different types of machines for peeling and cutting of vegetables are used in the kitchen areas. The quantum of food prepared can be gauged at the efficieny of these machines— vegetables for 50,000 people is prepared in two hours. The kitchen serves eight ton Swaminarayan Khichdi in one hour, 40 ton khichdi output in five batches where khichdi for 4,000 persons is made in one vessel.
Around 5,000 male and 6,000 female volunteers are working for the kitchen department preparing three meals for a day for over 80,000 volunteers and thousands of guests and visitors in a day.
For 42-year-old Sunil Jotangiya, a medical professional who runs a hospital, lab and pharmacy store in Rajkot, the day starts at 6 am and continues with non-stop service of 10-12 hours. Stationed at the Nagar since November 15, he has volunteered to stay till January 18. He is accompanied by his wife and son who too have volunteered for 35 days service.
Another 4,000 volunteers are working in the transport, parking and traffic departments. For parking alone, 1,700 people have volunteered for more than a year with planning and preparations. The Pramukh Swami Nagar has total 65 parking lots on 325 acre land that can accommodate 1,300 buses, 26,135 cars, 1,250 cargo vehicles, 13,000 two-wheelers totalling upto parking for total 41,725 vehicles.
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