Light has gone out of the path leading to the hallowed birthplace of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose. The walls, narrating the life of the greatest son of the soil, have fallen silent as the murals have almost but erased.
Not even two years have passed since the Heritage portal was put up on the main entry way to the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Birthplace Museum and the road was laid with colourful thematic murals lining the sidewalls to usher visitors in to the monument, they have all fallen apart, thanks to the utter neglect of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and Cuttack Development Authority (CDA).
A stark reflection of the civic authorities and Government department’s apathy, despite tall cries of protecting and preserving the heritage and promoting tourism, the whole stretch from Dargha Bazaar portal to Museum Gate languishes in dark from the fall of the evening as the whole line of decorative streetlights erected to embellish the path way has broken down.
And, vicinity of the museum has turned into a den of anti-socials and nefarious activities, sources rued. The heritage portal and ancillary beautification was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the 113th birth anniversary of Netaji Bose in 2010.
The Heritage portal on the theme of gallant INA soldiers, led by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, was constructed at a cost of around ` 18 lakh by the CMC. The walls were painted with murals depicting different phases in Netaji’s life. CDA was entrusted with beautification of the region along with provisioning proper amenities like street lighting. As many as 16 poles and lighting systems in colonial designs were installed. Not a single light is in working condition now.
Meanwhile, the `2.36 crore Destination Tourism project to beautify the land adjacent to the Museum and set up recreational and infotainment facilities is progressing at a stuttering pace.
Though the construction work on the Interpretation centre, which would have an auditorium with around 150-seat capacity, a library and cafeteria along with other amenities and the parking lot are going ahead, the revival of Ganga Mandir tank for boating facilities and the development of a park have been hit.
Sources said a major portion of Ganga Mandir tank has been encroached upon and work cannot start unless they are cleared. Tourism Department, however, has started stone-packing the embankments on the free area and will construct a jetty.