HYDERABAD: While the 12 statues of prominent Telugu personalities on the Tank Bund were vandalised during the Million March in March last year, their clay models are now drying up and cracking with the delay in making bronze statues to replace the damaged ones.
The department of culture, in November last, gave an order for making bronze replicas of the 12 destroyed statues to West Godavari sculptor Aruna Prasad Vudayar. The project is estimated to cost Rs 48 lakh and the bronze statues are proposed to be installed on the Tank Bund. Vudayar was given the deadline of January 23 this year for completing clay modelling so that the finished bronze statues could be installed before March.
The clay models were ready by January. They are deteriorating as they are kept ‘exposed’ for the last four months, with no one taking care of them, rued Vudayar.
“These clay models have to be used within 10 days for casting bronze statues. Otherwise they dry up and develop cracks,” he says. “So far, I have spent about Rs 10 lakh for material and wages to my fellow sculptors. The department of culture has not given me a single paisa,” he adds.
The government has not even released the first instalment of 10 percent of the total contract amount. Vudayar was told by officials when the contract was signed that he had to work fast and he would be paid without fail. The department’s technical committee has to certify the clay models and give a final nod for casting bronze statues. But the committee has not even ventured anywhere near them during the last four months.
“If the committee does not come soon and and give its green signal, the clay statues will be broken and become useless. It is going to be double work for us and a big loss of time and money for me,” Vudayar said.
Sunita M Bhagwat, in-charge director of the department said, “Do you think the state government is going to run away. Vudayar will get his money. The technical committee will soon ascertain the work done till now and give a nod for further work. If everything goes well, the statues will be installed in a couple of months.”
The 12 statues vandalised by miscreants are: Sri Krishnadevaraya, Yerrapragada, Annamacharya, Siddendra Yogi, Palnati Brahma Naidu, Raghupathi Venkataratnam Naidu, Mutnuri Krishna Rao, Kandukuri Veeresalingam, Tripuraneni Ramaswamy Choudary, Bellari Raghava, Sir Arthur Cotton and Gurajada Appa Rao. The statues were damaged on March 10 last year during pro-Telangana protest march. Except Bellari Raghava’s, the remaining 11 statues were thrown in Hussainsagar.
In the wake of outrage expressed by poets, literary personalities and social organisations, the state government decided to re-install the statues and the cultural department invited applications from sculptors. It is said Aruna Prasad Vudayar got the contract for Rs 48 lakh after many obstacles and red tape.