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5ft tribute to tribal legend

Birsa Munda (1875-1900) will finally get a lifelike tribute at his samadhi in the capital with a 5ft statue, though not on his birth anniversary on Tuesday that coincides with Statehood Day, but definitely by Republic Day, 2012.

Like every year, the samadhi sthal of the legendary tribal freedom fighter, near Distillery Bridge, will be a prime site of state celebrations. But this year, there is a marked difference, with visible hustle and bustle of renovation.

Ranchi district administration has started a Rs 30-lakh revamp initiative on the campus that houses Birsa Munda’s grave, which, according to plans, will have a lifelike statue by January. The samadhi sthal will also have a fountain, while the premises will be fenced by huge boundary wall with an adjoining parking space.

“We have recently begun the work to beautify Birsa Munda’s Samadhi Sthal. We are already in the process of erecting a bigger boundary wall, which replaces the earlier one,” said Ranchi deputy commissioner K.K. Soan.

The state, which came into existence on 2000 coinciding with the birth anniversary of Birsa Munda, will also honour its legend with tributes from hundreds of citizens, including Governor Syed Ahmed.

Ranchi Regional Development Authority (RRDA) officials on Tuesday also busied themselves in decorating the samadhi sthal for Tuesday’s functions, just as the civic body does the honours every year on Statehood Day.

Birsa Samadhi Sthal is located on the bank of the river — now only a small stream — where the British had thrown his dead body after he had died in jail under mysterious circumstances on June 9, 1900. His followers had then fished out his body and buried it on its banks.

However, the Samadhi Sthal that came into being was not deemed grand enough. Tribal groups had been demanding for a better one for nearly a decade.

This year, the state urban development department sanctioned a sum of Rs 30 lakh to carry out the work of beautification of Birsa Samadhi Sthal. The tasks, however, are being executed by the district administration.

“The boundary wall around the Samadhi Sthal will contain murals on the life and struggle of Birsa Munda. Besides, the area of the Samadhi Sthal is being increased by shifting the front boundary wall,” said K.C. Singh, the engineer entrusted with the task.

The statue of Birsa Munda, they hope, will also draw his present-day followers to the site. Singh said the beautification work was expected to be done in the next two months. “We hope to complete the work by Republic Day,” Singh promised.

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