Scurry to fix Bapu statue
The Mahatma Gandhi Smarak Vikas Nyas Samiti, the caretaker outfit of the memorial inside which the 8-foot-high statue of Mahatma Gandhi was found broken on Sunday, has asked Hazaribagh deputy commissioner Bhuvnesh Pratap Singh to order a grand new statue and develop the spot into a park.
The Samiti also asked superintendent of police Mayur Patel and sub-divisional officer Megha Bharadwaj to set up a police picket nearby.
DC Singh on Monday sanctioned Rs 5 lakh to the district engineer of the zilla parishad to repair the statue. He promised CCTV surveillance cover for the town very soon.
Samiti president Manoj Verma said they were 'deeply shocked and saddened' by the vandalism.
'The statue on the banks of the Gonda river in Kud area opposite Hazaribagh railway station marks the site that is important historically. Gandhiji's ashes were scattered in the Gonda in 1948. Though the statue was comparatively new, the place has attracted people since 1948,' he said.
Verma added that it was sad that the place near the memorial had become the hangout of youths gambling, smoking ganja or drinking.
'Country liquor is sold there. That's why along with our demand for a grand new Gandhi statue, we demand a police outpost so that these incidents do not recur,' he said.
'We also want boundary walls of the memorial to be raised, a permanent guard and CCTV surveillance. We want the administration to look into its tourism potential and build a parkVerma said that in 2012, the Bank of India gave funds to raise the boundary walls around the Smarak.
'NTPC did say it would give funds as a part of its CSR (corporate social responsibility) for developing the Smarak but it never became a reality. We want this place to get developed as a national heritage site,' he added.
CPI leader Bhuvneshwar Prasad Mehta on Monday demanded a special investigation team to probe the vandalism and speedy arrest of the culprits. Former Bagodar MLA and president of RJD (Loktantrik) Gautam Sagar Rana visited the Smarak and demanded a new statue.
CPM workers led by district secretary Ganesh Citu also demanded a new statue.
'One statue of Gandhiji may be broken, but Bapu's ideals are owned by the whole world,' Citu said.
In the evening, NGO Loksamiti led by its president Girja Satish announced a daylong fast and prayer meet at the Smarak on Thursday 'to help culprits realise their wrongdoing'..