Jagatsinghpur, October 1 (LocalWire): While the locals here are happy that the state government is making elaborate arrangements to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, they are also upset that not much has been done to protect his statues and memorials related to him and the freedom movement.
According to sources, while the district administration has been provided with the fund for celebration it does not have any allocation for safe-keep, maintenance or renovation of memorials and statues of the father of the nation.
Bedhi Matth, for example, was once an important center where local for freedom fighters had assembled after Mahatma Gandhi started his famous Laban Satyagraha or the salt movement in 1930, marching from Sabarmati to Dandi.
The Matth in Chatua village of Kujang tahsil was once an important center of the activity of freedom fighters. A training center was also opened here to teach people how to use charkha to weave khadi clothes.
Unfortunately, the Matth is now in ruins due to neglect and government apathy and does not even have a statute of Mahatma Gandhi.
Locals allege that despite the government’s decision to accord importance to such place, nothing has been done to develop this centre and preserve the memory of freedom fighters.
Similarly, the area around Mahatma Gandhi statue at several places in Erasama, Jagatsinghpur, Balikuda and other regions of Jagatsinghpur district has become a den of drug addicts, alcoholics and smokers.
Since most of these places lack boundary walls, electricity and maintenance, these places have been turned into a haven for the anti-social elements.
It may be recalled that on November 2018, Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at Kanakeswer High School at Debgram village under Balikuda police station was vandalised by unidentified persons, with miscreants damaging ear, nose, eye and other parts.
While the headmaster of the school had lodged an FIR at the Balikuda police station, the accused persons are yet to be arrested.
While the Bedhi Matth Freedom Fighters Smruti Parishad assistant secretary Surendranath Mishra has sought the intervention of the state government and administration for renovation of this Math, locals have urged the government to take steps for protection of Mahatma Gandhi’s statues and other memorials.
According to district culture officer-in-charge Abdul Wahid Khan, “We have received funds for the celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi but we have no fund for renovation and protection of his statue and other memorial places.”