Centre okays patriot statue

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By PRAMOD KUMAR PATNAIK in Sambalpur
  • Published 6.09.05
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Sambalpur, Sept. 6: The people of Orissa expressed both pride and pleasure at the central government?s agreement to install a statue of renowned 19th century freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai, on the Parliamentary premises.

?Parliament will have the first statue of any freedom fighter from Orissa after 58 years of Independence,? said Sriballav Panigrahi, the former MP of Deogarh and former minister of Orissa.

?I proposed for the statue in Parliament in mid-nineties while I was an MP. The proposal has been accepted after so many years,? Panigrahi said in a meeting with influential citizens of the district. He also showed the letter from the Parliament secretariat to him considering his 10-year-old proposal.

?While 1857 sepoy mutiny is treated as the first freedom movement in the country, Surendra Sai launched freedom movement against the British much before it at Sambalpur,? recalled Professor Prafulla Kumar Pati, the former vice-chancellor of Sambalpur university, expressing pleasure over the Central government?s decision .

Surendra was jailed by the British from the year 1840 to 1857, and again in 1864 until his death in 1884.

In a gathering, Panigrahi, the former MP, informed the citizens of Sambalpur about the installation of the statue and said: ?The British put Surendra Sai in jail for 37 years, surpassing any known record for any jail sentences of freedom fighters. Surendra Sai was imprisoned for five years more than Nelson Mandela,? Panigrahi said.

But according to the provision of the government of India, the cost of the statue is to be borne by the proposer, the people of the locality, any organisation or the concerned state government. For the statues of Kamaraj Nadar, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Ranjit Singh; the state governments of the respective states bore the entire expenditure, Panigrahi informed.

The people requested the chief minister, Naveen Patnaik to bear the entire expenditure for installation of the statue, which would be approximately Rs 20-25 lakh. They further hoped that the chief minister would gladly accept the proposal, as it is a pride for the state.

However, as the next alternative, if chief minister wouldn?t agree to bear the expenses on the plea of financial constraints, funds would be raised locally from individuals, institutions and industrial houses of the region, they decided.