A month on, fire-ravaged church awaits govt aid

CM, home minister yet to keep promise of funds for repairs.

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It seems the promise made by chief minister (CM) Prithviraj Chavan and home minister RR Patil, to provide financial help to St Andrew’s Hindustani Church, one of the oldest churches in the city, has remained unfulfilled.

The church authorities have not received a single penny to repair the 150-year-old building on Pune-Solapur Road, which caught fire early on November 28, destroying its much-admired wooden benches, walls and designed roof.

Though there were no casualties, church officials said the fire destroyed property worth Rs1 crore, which included expensive furniture, literature and machinery. The church stands on 1.5 acres. The cause of the fire was said to be a short circuit, and a case has been registered with the Wanavdi police.

The police, with the help of MahaDiscom, inspected the church and sent samples for chemical analysis to ascertain the cause of the fire.

The church was built by the Scottish Mission in 1860 at a cost of Rs13,700. In 1939, the church came to be known as “Swedish Hindustani Mission” after a deed signed by a Swedish missionary. From 1963 it was recognised as “Hindustani Convent Church”.

It has 111 other churches under it across the country.
A day after incident, the CM and the home minister paid a visit to the church and assured the authorities of financial help.

Sachin Masih, youth pastor at the church, told DNA, “We have met both of them to apprise them of the situation, but we have not yet received any help from the ministers.

This year, our Christmas and New Year
celebrations will be a low-key affair.”

 On December 25, the church has organised a
programme for children followed by carol singing and reading of the message of the Lord. “We plan to repair the church after January 2,” Masih added.

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