Orissa’s Dandi now a ruined legacy - The New Indian Express

Orissa’s Dandi now a ruined legacy

Published: 15th August 2011 03:16 AM

Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:22 PM

BALASORE: They swear by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals, do not hesitate to take high moral ground, but hardly walk the talk. Be it a place with footprints of the freedom movement.

At least 45 ministers, 17 MPs and nine MLAs have visited Laban Satyagraha Smruti Peetha at Inchudi __ Orissa’s Dandi, known for its famous march __ and had promised to make it a place of historical pilgrimage. But what stands now is the same old ruined memorial. A museum is under construction for the last two decades. Statues of several martyrs have tell-tale signs of the ravages of time __ they get submerged in water during heavy rains.

The movement here, after Gandhiji’s call for Dandi march, has come to be known as second satyagraha. Freedom- fighter Suryamani Panda is not surprised at the condition of the place. The Government, he says, never feels duty-bound to preserve such legacy. As history has it, on April 13, 1930, people in Orissa, inspired by the civil disobedience movement, came forward for a vigorous struggle to break the Salt Law, introduced by the Britishers.

The movement, first started at Inchudi, spread under the leadership of Sardar Surendranath Das, Binod Kanungo, Jeebramjee Kothari, Rama Devi and Harekrushna Mahatab. Hundreds of satyagrahis were imprisoned during the movement.

“We observe the anniversary on April 13 and celebrate the Independence Day on August 15 here. Politicians and bureaucrats attend the function and talk tall. After that, the place is again abandoned,” said Smruti committee president Sarbeswar Das.

Former Zilla Parishad president Bhupal Mohapatra had released ` 50,000 to build a museum near the memorial.

But it lies incomplete due to lack of funds.

“Even the State Government, which was providing ` 5,000 annually for the function, has stopped it since 2001. We contribute substantially for the annual event and observe it,” said committee secretary Prasanta Mohanty.

Inchudi is a memorable place for all Indians but this historical place is yet to get national importance. The place has been declared as a tourist spot since 2003 but hardly any visitor comes here.

The Indian Tourism Development Corporation had sought a proposal for the development of the place which has not yet been submitted by its State counterpart.

“The proposal was to set up a panthanivas and memorial hall, besides erection of statues depicting scenes of salt movement, a park and a memorial at Chatipada from where the movement started.

But the State Tourism department has not yet prepared it,” claimed Pravabati Das, Zilla Parishad member.

In-charge Collector Sribatsa Jena assured that he would urge the State Government to send the proposal and release the pending funds for the function.

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