Rajguruís memorial in ruins, archaeology dept draws flak


Nearly 80 years after revolutionary leader Shivram Hari Rajguru attained martyrdom, a memorial to Rajguru built on a 2,788 sq m plot at Rajgurunagar, his birth place, lies in ruins. The flooring of the memorial caved in Wednesday night, exposing the quality of work carried out by the State Archaeological Department. The floor has developed a slope with cracks and there is a wide hole from where construction material is coming off. Political leaders and activists said the construction has been "faulty". But archaeology department disagrees.

"The flooring has caved in due to water seepage. There is a drainage line that passes beneath the memorial. The line runs into the nearby river. Due to heavy rain in the past few days, the drainage line overflowed leading to water seepage and caving in of the memorial flooring," said V N Kamble, assistant director, State Archaeological Department.

Kamble said his team has inspected the caved-in portion. "We will send a report to our headquarters in Mumbai and would seek funds for its immediate repairs. It is a PCC construction. We had taken all effort to build a sturdy memorial but due to factors beyond our control, the flooring has caved in," he said. However, activist Rajendra Sutar said, "The memorial wasbuilt in 2008. When the project was being set up, villagers had pointed to the use of substandard material, but government did not pay heed." Maruti Bhapkar of Aam Aadmi Party, who visited the place Friday, said a three-member committee had in March 2010 pointed out irregularities in fund use.

"The state government had given Rs 70 lakh, of which Rs 16 lakh was used to build a memorial and the prayer hall. The committee found that the archaelogical department could not explain where it spend Rs 10 lakh. The memorial construction cost nearly Rs 5 lakh and prayer hall work had not even started," he said. Bhapkar said the government had taken action against five officials after the committee filed its report.

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