RTI enquiry by Advocate Virendra Icharkaranjikar reveals shocking information
Archeology department expresses helplessness that the administration is turning a deaf ear to complaints
Mumbai : Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar, the National President of Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad, has exposed serious lapses in the administration of monuments in Sarkarwada, Sundarnarayan Temple, Malegaon Fort and Parola Fort in Jalgaon which fall under the Nashik Archeology Department. This includes information on rampant encroachment in these State protected monuments, revealed through Right to Information enquiries.
The Department of Archeology has expressed helplessness that the unauthorized constructions are not being removed despite complaining to the concerned administrative officials to remove these encroachments. So the question is, ‘who is supposed to act?’
On December 19, 2022, the Nashik Archeology Department issued written replies to an RTI enquiry by Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar. Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar had asked, ‘How many of the state protected monuments under the jurisdiction of the Nashik Archeology Department have encroachments on the land or structures?’
He was given the following information by the Archeology Department –
1. In front of Sarkarwada, a protected monument in Nashik, and also on three sides of the palace, handcart shops, florists etc. have set up illegal shops.
2. Houses have been built illegally in the moat adjacent to the southern wall of the Malegaon fort, as well as adjacent to the moat wall.
3. There is also a mattress factory in the Sundarnarayan Temple grounds of Nashik. The owner of the mattress factory has filed a petition in the District and Sessions Court and the archeology department has informed that the case is ongoing.
4. The moat of Parola Fort in Jalgaon district has witnessed large scale unauthorised construction. The fort and its vicinity are being overrun by filth and garbage.
Who has to take the action?
The Archeology Department informed Advocate Virendra Ichalkaranjikar that the concerned administrative officials such as Commissioner of Nashik Municipal Corporation, Collector, Commissioner of Malegaon Municipal Corporation, Chief Executive of Parola Municipal Council have been sent regular communiques asking them to clear the encroachments; but till now, no encroachment has been removed. Therefore, if the administration does not take action, who will remove the unauthorized construction? Also, why is the administration supporting these unauthorized constructions?
Significance of encroached historical structures
Sarkarwada (Nashik) : The architecture of Sarkarwada is a testimony of the architecture and glorious history of the Peshwa period. All the administrative affairs of the Peshwas were conducted from this building. On the whole, from the Peshwas to the British, Sarkarwada served various purposes such as the main center of governance, court, prison, police station.
Malegaon Fort (Nashik): This fort was built by the last Peshwa Shankararaje Bahadur in the year 1740. Craftsmen were brought from Surat and North India to build the fort. It took 25 years to build this fort.
Sundaranarayan Temple (Nashik): This unique temple of Shri Vishnu along with Lakshmi and Tulsi is located near the banks of Godavari River. The temple is known for its historic craftsmanship, exquisite work, stonework and exquisite use of wood. Shri Vishnu was cursed by Vrinda, demon Jalandar’s wife, and became ugly. He got his original form when he bathed in the Godavari river here. Hence this temple is known as Sundarnarayan Temple.
Parola Fort (Jalgaon): Hari Sadashiv Damodar built this underground fort in 1727 for the security of the local traders and to maintain control over the surrounding region. Queen Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi lived in this fort. Therefore, this fort is also known as the ‘Maternal home of the Queen of Jhansi’.
This fort is counted among the beautiful ancient architectural marvels of Jalgaon district in Maharashtra.
Source : Sanatan Prabhat