Gandhi Ashram Memorial Project: Process begins to clean up residential properties, 19 families receive checks

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Gujarat state authorities have started the process of cleaning up residential properties at the Sabarmati Ashram premises to develop a world-class memorial as part of a planned Gandhi Ashram Memorial project and Precinct Development.

In the past two days, Ahmedabad district collector Sandip Sagale paid checks worth Rs 40 lakh each to 19 families living on the premises who agreed to vacate the properties instead of the fixed amount. of the regulations. The final settlement amount has been set at Rs 60 lakh and the remaining amount of Rs 20 lakh will be paid to them upon leaving the property within one month.

Sagale, secretary and member of the board and executive board for implementing the project, said 11 families received the checks on Monday and eight families on Tuesday.

The project plan, estimated at Rs 1,200 crore, and proposes to consolidate properties on both sides of Ashram Road, which is the arterial road from Ahmedabad to the west, and eventually close it as a traffic lane, was prepared by consultants HCP Design, Planning and Management Pvt Ltd.

The plan is to reverse the five acre area of ​​the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (SAPMT) managed by Sabarmati Ashram to the 18-19 hectare area, as seen in an aerial photo taken in 1949 which is the basis of the plan. , “to bring back the lost glory.” The ashram grounds measure approximately 322 acres (130 ha) of which 55 acres (22.3 ha) are expected to be reserved for the Gandhi Ashram Memorial, which includes the SAPMT.

For the implementation of the project, the government of Gujarat formed a Board of Directors and an Executive Board. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is the Chairman of the Board of Governors. CM Principal Chief Secretary K Kailashnathan, who chairs the executive board, was present at the check distribution on Tuesday.

A senior government official associated with the project said one of the main challenges is to free up residential properties. Most of these properties are in the possession of the descendants of those Mahatma Gandhi had installed in the Ashram in the early 1900s.
Initially, when the project was announced, some Ashramites protested against the forced evictions and threatened to start an unrest. However, according to sources, the government is trying to implement the project amicably without coming into confrontation with anyone, especially the “Ashramites”.

The government official said, “People living in Ashram properties are offered a one-time settlement amount of Rs 60 lakh. Those who are willing to take the amount and leave the property are getting the checks now. Those who do not want monetary compensation will benefit from alternative rehabilitation. If they are not ready for this too, the government will think of other options. The government does not want to do anything by force.

Kailashnathan, BJP MP Rajya Sabha Narhari Amin, who is also on the board, and Bimal Patel, who heads the HCP, made presentations to residents on three alternatives.

Sources said authorities have identified around 250 to 260 residents living within the ashram, of which 19 have opted for the one-time settlement of Rs 60 lakh to vacate the property.

One of the 19 people who took the check, who did not want to be identified, told The Indian Express: “Our ancestors were settled here by Gandhiji to tend the cattle inside the Ashram. We know ours is a prime location and we’re not going to get a similar location elsewhere. But we are leaving the property willingly and with pleasure as it is for the development of something related to Gandhi Bapu. We also know that when the government wants to take the property, it will eventually take it (anyway).

Gujarat state authorities have started the process of cleaning up residential properties at the Sabarmati Ashram premises to develop a world-class memorial as part of a planned Gandhi Ashram Memorial project and Precinct Development.

In the past two days, Ahmedabad district collector Sandip Sagale paid checks worth Rs 40 lakh each to 19 families living on the premises who agreed to vacate the properties instead of the fixed amount. of the regulations. The final settlement amount has been set at Rs 60 lakh and the remaining amount of Rs 20 lakh will be paid to them upon leaving the property within one month.

Sagale, secretary and member of the board and executive board for implementing the project, said 11 families received the checks on Monday and eight families on Tuesday.

The project plan, estimated at Rs 1,200 crore, and proposes to consolidate the properties on both sides of the Ashram Road, which is the western Ahmedabad arterial road, and possibly close it as a traffic lane, has been prepared by the HCP Design, Planning and Management Consultants Pvt Ltd.

The plan is to reverse the five acre area of ​​the Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (SAPMT) managed by Sabarmati Ashram to the 18-19 hectare area, as seen in an aerial photo taken in 1949 which is the basis of the plan. , “to bring back the lost glory.” The ashram grounds measure approximately 322 acres (130 ha) of which 55 acres (22.3 ha) are expected to be reserved for the Gandhi Ashram Memorial, which includes the SAPMT.

For the implementation of the project, the government of Gujarat formed a Board of Directors and an Executive Board. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani is the Chairman of the Board of Governors. CM Principal Chief Secretary K Kailashnathan, who chairs the executive board, was present at the check distribution on Tuesday.

A senior government official associated with the project said one of the main challenges is to free up residential properties. Most of these properties are in the possession of the descendants of those Mahatma Gandhi had installed in the Ashram in the early 1900s.
Initially, when the project was announced, some Ashramites protested against the forced evictions and threatened to stir up unrest. However, according to sources, the government is trying to implement the project amicably without coming into confrontation with anyone, especially the “Ashramites”.

The government official said, “People living in Ashram properties are offered a one-time settlement amount of Rs 60 lakh. Those who are willing to take the amount and leave the property are getting the checks now. Those who do not want monetary compensation will benefit from alternative rehabilitation. If they are not ready for this too, the government will think of other options. The government does not want to do anything by force.

Kailashnathan, BJP MP Rajya Sabha Narhari Amin, who is also on the board, and Bimal Patel, who heads the HCP, made presentations to residents on three alternatives.

Sources said authorities have identified around 250 to 260 residents living within the ashram, of which 19 have opted for the one-time settlement of Rs 60 lakh to vacate the property.

One of the 19 people who took the check, who did not want to be identified, told The Indian Express: “Our ancestors were settled here by Gandhiji to tend the cattle inside the Ashram. We know ours is a prime location and we’re not going to get a similar location elsewhere. But we are leaving the property willingly and with pleasure as it is for the development of something related to Gandhi Bapu. We also know that when the government wants to take the property, it will eventually take it (anyway).

“We opted for a one-off monetary settlement instead of opting for an alternative rehabilitation because we are the only ones of our caste in the current locality (dominated by a particular caste). We have lived in harmony all these years. We want to buy a new house in Ghatlodia or in the Chandlodia area (in the city of Ahmedabad) to live with relatives and other members of our community, ”she added.

Another woman, who was one of the 19, said: “My stepfather was brought to the Ashram by Gandhiji. He and later my husband worked at Navjivan Press created by Gandhiji. I took the money as my son (working in a private company) told me to.

A community leader from the Ashram area who did not go for monetary settlement said: “There are many people in our locality who live in small houses and have debts in the hundreds. thousands of dollars. They opted for monetary compensation to pay off their debts and buy a small house in the city.

“Many of us are willing to leave the property for alternative rehabilitation, as the properties we live in are owned by trusts associated with the Ashram. Although we have lived here for over three generations, we need the permission of the Ashram Trust to carry out repair work in the house as we have no property rights. So it is better to have an alternative rehabilitation with property rights and develop the Bapu ashram into a world class memorial, ”he added.

“We opted for a one-off monetary settlement instead of opting for an alternative rehabilitation because we are the only ones of our caste in the current locality (dominated by a particular caste). We have lived in harmony all these years. We want to buy a new house in Ghatlodia or in the Chandlodia area (in the city of Ahmedabad) to live with relatives and other members of our community, ”she added.

Another woman, who was one of the 19, said: “My stepfather was brought to the Ashram by Gandhiji. He and later my husband worked at Navjivan Press created by Gandhiji. I took the money as my son (working in a private company) told me to.

A community leader from the Ashram area who did not go for monetary settlement said: “There are many people in our locality who live in small houses and have debts in the hundreds. thousands of dollars. They opted for monetary compensation to pay off their debts and buy a small house in the city.
“Many of us are willing to leave the property for alternative rehabilitation, as the properties we live in are owned by trusts associated with the Ashram. Although we have lived here for over three generations, we need the permission of the Ashram Trust to carry out repair work in the house as we have no property rights. So it is better to have an alternative rehabilitation with property rights and develop the Bapu ashram into a world class memorial, ”he added.


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