Thursday, April 14, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Ambedkar Bhavan in Ahmedabad is not yet complete

Ambedkar Bhavan in Ahmedabad is not yet complete
Published: Thursday, Apr 14, 2011, 12:29 IST
By Moulin Parikh | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

From its outer appearance, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar National Foundation
in Ranip looks like a top class centre, befitting the great man's
stature. However, the promise ends as soon as one enters the
establishment's premises. A research centre, library and museum that
were announced at the time of the launch of the foundation three years
ago, remain on drawing sheets.

Workers at the foundation are busy making beds for executive rooms,
which will provide a temporary stay for researchers but there are no
signs of the research centre.

The foundation had come up in 2007 at a provisional cost of Rs.9.66
crore. The centre also has an open-air amphitheatre for staging plays,
dramas and other performances related to Dr Ambedkar's struggle for
social development.

Miffed by slow progress of construction work and unfulfilled promises,
members of Dr Ambedkar Vichar Manch, a local group, met Fakir Vaghela,
minister of social justice and empowerment, early this week to apprise
him of the situation.

"We met Fakirbhai on Monday and put forward a list of pending work at
the foundation," informed Dinesh Solanki, convener of the group to

Elaborating on the demands, Solanki said, "We were told that an
air-conditioned auditorium was to be built on the area adjacent to the
amphitheatre but not a single brick has been laid. Worse, they have
now reduced the capacity to just 300 against the original 1,000."

The convener further said that there was a botch-up in the original
plan. "We are now being told that there is not enough space on the
plot. We wonder how the capacity of the plot got reduced on its own,"
he exclaimed.

"The museum and library are not functional. The state government had
said that it will procure Dr Ambedkar's memorabilia from Maharashtra
and other places but there has been no progress at all in this

The other demands include a roof for the open air amphitheatre,
installation of a statue of Dr Ambedkar and an idol of Gautam Buddha,
permission to hold seminars in the buildings by Dalits and organising
light and sound show on the lines of Delhi's Red Fort.

The group has been fighting for long and their efforts paid off to an
extent when in July last year, a makeshift reading facility was set
up. Hundreds of students of standard X and XII made use of the
facility during the recently concluded board exams. Apart from
students, the reading area is also used by senior citizens, who read
Gujarati and English dailies and also magazines.

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