The heavy downpour on Thursday damaged the 300-year-old dilapidated wada where freedom fighter Hutatma Rajguru was born, with the flooring of the wada giving way. The locals blamed the state government for poor quality work and maintenance of the memorial of a national hero in Rajgurunagar.
Anandrao Gawade, an activist from Rajgurunagar, told dna, “The development work was carried out very poorly. As a result, in the room where Rajguru was born, almost 75% of the flooring has been damaged. There is a strong demand from locals for strong action against those responsible for carrying out such poor quality work.”
The ancestral wada of Rajguru is a grand stone structure standing on the banks of Bhima river on Pune-Nashik Road, spread over 2,788 sq m land. It has a protective stone wall, a grand arch door (dindi darwaza), the main house building (thorla wada), a prayer room, the room where Rajguru was born and a Hanuman temple built by Rajguru himself.
There is also a gym or vyayamshala where Rajguru spent hours, an old washing stone, an old well and an earthen water pot buried in the ground.
The state government had set up a three-member committee, which includes a member of the archaeology department, a public works department (PWD) official and a local official of Rajgurunagar. The committee submitted its report in 2010 that the work on the memorial was carried out poorly. The report is pending with the state government.
Though the state government never hoisted the Tricolour at the wada, the Hutatma Rajguru Smarak Samiti, a local organisation, started organising the flag hoisting ceremony there on Republic Day since 2004.
Archaeology department official VV Dhumal and his team inspected the room on Thursday. Dhumal told dna, “The flooring of the room where Hutatma Rajguru was born has been damaged due to the heavy rain over the last couple of days.”
RTI activist and social worker Maruti Bhapkar said, “It is a shame that the state could not provide a qualitative structure for our national hero’s birthplace. We are going to meet the district collector to demand strong action against those who carried out the poor work.”
Shobha Sandbhor, caretaker of the wada, said, “On Thursday, I noticed the condition of the flooring. I am working here for a long time, but noticed this for the first time.”
State gave Rs5 lakh of Rs1.7-cr fund
In 2005, the state government sanctioned Rs1.7 crore for the memorial. However, the money disbursed so far is the first instalment of Rs5 lakh in 2007. The amount was adequate only for redeveloping the room where Rajguru was born. Later, the state government rebuilt the protective wall but the work got mired in controversy with villagers alleging use of substandard material.
Some youths from Rajgurunagar came together to form Hutatma Rajguru Smarak Samiti (HRSS). They got the wada cleaned for the first time in 2003.