The ‘Dandi’ memorial no one cares to remember
By Hemant Kumar Rout
Published: 21st Aug 2011 01:19:00 AM
BALASORE: They swear by Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals and do not hesitate to take the high moral high 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 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, the people of Orissa, inspired by the Civil Disobedience Movement, came forward for a vigorous struggle to break the British Salt Law. 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.
“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 Rs 50,000 to build a museum. But it lies incomplete due to lack of funds.
“Even the State Government, which was providing Rs 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 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 the State Tourism Department. “The proposal was to set up a Panthanivas and a memorial hall, besides 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 prepared it,” claimed Pravabati Das, Zilla Parishad member. In-charge Collector Sribatsa Jena has, however, assured that he would urge the State Government to send the proposal and release the pending funds for the function.