The Albert Ekka Chowk in Ranchi on Sunday. (Hardeep Singh)
Posters, potted plants and a fountain — Ranchi’s best-known landmark is undergoing a major facelift.
Named after 1972 war hero Albert Ekka, the chowk will be beautified by Vedic Sales, which already maintains high-mast lights at the main junctions of the city as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Partnering Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), Vedic Sales has already begun the beautification work by radium-coating the iron railings that surround the pedestal on which Lance Naik Albert Ekka’s life-size statue stands. It has also fitted decorative lights around the pedestal besides putting in place flowering plants.
As a nod to the capital’s love for cricket and hockey, items associated with these two games are also being used as part of the decoration. The agency has placed two hockey sticks along with a hockey ball on the pedestal, as well as wickets.
However, beating all others in the attention-grabbing quotient is a fountain.
“We have set a timer for the fountain in such a way that it starts at 6.30 in the evening and is on till 9.30pm. The fountain has been functioning for the last two days,” said Vikas Agarwal, proprietor of Vedic Sales.
Albert Ekka Chowk is located strategically at the heart of the city and is the meeting point of the arterial Mahatma Gandhi Road (Main Road), Kutchery Road, Line Tank Road and Hazaribagh Road.
The spot assumes significance for the Army as this is where senior officers come to pay homage during Albert Ekka’s birth anniversary on December 27 and death anniversary on December 3.
“We are going to set up more army related posters at the place to give it a distinctive look. We also will put up more colourful decorative lights in the coming days,” said Agarwal.
Earlier, the chowk remained neglected save for the time the district administration cleaned the place on important occasions like the birth and death anniversaries of the war hero. On one occasion — December 3, 2011 — when Team India under the captaincy of city boy M.S. Dhoni won the World Cup, the celebrants had even partly broken the statue.
The chowk has been inspected by Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey and RMC chief executive officer Dipankar Panda at least twice in the past week to see how the facelift work was progressing. “Now that the chowk is being beautified, we request the residents to kindly take care of it as their own property,” said Naresh Sinha, public relations officer of RMC.
Meanwhile, Vedic Sales proprietor Agarwal said in the next two-three days, he would be planting more flower plants around the pedestal. “We will keep doing new decorations at the chowk every two-three months,” he added.
So far, Rs 1.5 lakh has been spent on the project.