Come October 2, a nondescript village in coastal Bhadrak district witnesses a spurt in activity. People from various walks of life throng Charbatia village in Basudevpur tehsil to pay homage to the Father of the Nation.
Charbatia is the only place in Odisha that Mahatma Gandhi visited thrice. He had convened a meeting here and led the Satyagraha for an independent India.
He had first visited the village on December 17, 1927. Accompanied by Gopabandhu Das, Harekrushna Mahatab, Niranjan Pattanaik and other Satyagrahis, he came in a boat from Pirahat to Charbatia ghat where he addressed a gathering.
Gandhi Smruti Committee secretary Niranjan Biswal said from Bhadrak, Mahatma Gandhi walked down all the way to Pirhat. However, the locals said except on October 2 and December 17 when Mahatma Gandhi arrived in the village, none visits this place rest of the year. With no government assistance, villagers contribute to observe both the days every year.
In fact, the house where Mahatma Gandhi spent two days stands testimony to the government negligence. While this house where he slept and chalked out plans against the British has been completely destroyed due to lack of care, a tax collection centre constructed by the British is in ruins. Historian B K Sarangi said though a few years back, a Gandhi Smruti Bhavan was built by the block authorities, it also cries for attention now.