RTI plea reveals Gujarat govt indifference towards building Ambedkar Bhawans
Subhash Gatade in an article in “Mainstream” weekly, “Know Your NaMo: Dalits in Search of ‘Gujarat Model” says, “Kirit Rathod, a senior activist of the Navsarjan Trust, Ahmedabad — which has done a pioneering study on the widespread prevalence of Untouchability in Gujarat villages — filed an RTI application to find out what exactly the Gujarat government has done to build Ambedkar Bhawans in each of the 225 talukas of Gujarat, as also all the 26 districts. Forget 225 talukas and 26 districts, till date only 12 such Bhawans have been constructed. As for constructing statues in the memory of Dr Ambedkar, the Gujarat Government told Rathod in the RTI reply: ‘No provision was made in the budget for the construction of statues’.”
Navsarjan blog, counterview.org, gives more details: The reply received by Rathod, on April 9, 2014, suggests that only 12 such Bhawans have been constructed so far. These include one Bhawan each, in the district headquarters of Gandhinagar, Mehsana, Patan, Banaskantha, Surendranagar, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar, Junagadh, Amreli, Porbandar and Valsad. Not only have rest of the 14 districts do no such Bhawans; plans to construct them at taluka level have been doing on at the snail’s pace.
An amount of Rs 2.25 crore was set aside for constructing nine Bhawans in Ahmedabad. Even then, land has been allocated for building Bhawans in just three three talukas – Detroj (1,000 sq metres), Viramgam (1,000 sq metres) and Dholka (1,241 sq metres). As for the rest of the six talukas, Ranpur, Bawla, Dhandhuka, Mandal, Barwala and Sanand, even the land has not been acquired for the purpose. This information was received from the district backward class welfare officer, Ahmedabad district. Even seven years after the declaration of constructing one Bhawan in each taluka, the district collector, Ahmedabad, has still not set aside land in six of talukas for the purpose, while in the rest of the cases, the construction activity is yet to begin.