ASI seeks squatter-free hill - Crusader's RTI plea on Tagore abode yields result

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  • Published 12.11.13

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has directed Ranchi district administration to protect Tagore Hill in Morabadi from any unauthorised construction and encroachment in its vicinity.

In a letter sent to the district administration in the last week of October, ASI officials mentioned that the department was unable to take any action, as the site does not feature in the list of centrally protected monuments. “Since the monument/site is undoubtedly associated with our cultural heritage, it requires our concern,” read the letter.

The ASI intervention came after one Ajay Kumar Jain, who had filed an RTI seeking to know whether the organisation has any plans to protect the monument. Jain, who has dedicated himself to protect Tagore Hill, also runs an NGO, Society of Preservation of Tribal Culture and Natural Beauty, in Ranchi. He had contended in the petition that a portion of the boundary wall at Tagore Hill was yet to be erected, thanks to illegal settlers.

“There are still encroachments in parts. Some people have fraudulently procured papers to claim the land, which originally belongs to the hill site. As a result, Tagore Hill, which has the potential to become an important international centre for research, remains neglected,” rued Jain.

The Ranchi administration contested the allegations.

“I don’t think there is any squatter at the hill. And the boundary walls have been erected long back. We have had also carried out beautification drive. However, we will ask the circle officer to go for a physical verification. If encroachments are found, those will be removed immediately,” said Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey.

Tagore Hill was once the residence of Jyotindranath Tagore, the elder brother of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. Though Rabindranath Tagore never visited Ranchi, his elder brother bought the site and built a house sometime around 1912. He lived here till 1925.