PUNE: A commemorative pillar for Polish refugee families which had made India their home during World War II was unveiled at Valivade village in western Maharashtra's Kolhapur district on Saturday.
As their country was ravaged by invading armies, around 5,000 refugees from Poland lived at Valivade, 235 km from Pune, between 1942 to 1948.
A delegation from Poland, including 12 of the surviving refugees, arrived in Kolhapur for commemoration of 80th anniversary of their stay in India two days ago.
A permanent museum in memory of Polish refugees is being set up in Kolhapur, containing photographs, paintings & other important items and materials from the #WWII era, to keep the memories of the past alive for the next generations. The museum will be built in next one year. pic.twitter.com/8Oui57sgHa— PIB in Maharashtra (@PIBMumbai) September 12, 2019
The memorial pillar was unveiled in the presence of the delegation, led by Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland Marcin Przydacz.
A museum dedicated to Polish refugees would be set up at the village, the Maharashtra government had announced two days ago.
An `India Poland Business Meeting' was also held in the Kolhapur city on Saturday.
Speaking at a press conference afterwards, Przydacz called for enhancing cultural and business ties between the two countries.
CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, Rafal Milczarski, announced resumption of a direct flight between Warsaw and New Delhi after a gap of 25 years on this occasion.
Pressing for better connectivity between the two countries, he said there should be at least one daily flight between Mumbai and Warsaw.
Bhushan Gagrani, principal secretary to Maharashtra chief minister, said the state government supports the idea of starting a direct flight between Warsaw and Mumbai or Pune.
Poland's ambassador to India Adam Burakowski and Rajya Sabha MP Sambhaji Chhatrapati were also present.
Przydacz noted that this year marks 65th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Poland.
The trade between India and Poland has been growing, he said, adding, "We hope it can be doubled in the next few years."
Sambhaji Chhatrapati said a Kolhapur-Poland Business Forum will be set up to nurture business ties between the city, which is an industrial hub, and Poland.
Ambassador Burakowski exhorted Indian industrialists to invest in Poland.