Gandhi memorial neglected in Puttur

The statue of Gandhi in Gandhi Mantapa.

Ashwatha Katte, a historic place in Puttur where Mahatma Gandhi had interacted with the public during his visit to Puttur 84 years ago, is in a state of neglect. 

In memory of Gandhi's visit, the authorities had constructed Gandhi Mantapa at Birumale Gudde, which too is crying for attention. 

A well, dug following a direction by Gandhiji to solve the drinking water woes at Ragikumeri, is unused. 

Gandhi had visited Puttur on February 24, 1934. It was a historic day for the residents of Puttur. He had visited 'Bottatharu' (present Brahmagiri) Colony and Ragikumeru Colony (the present Ambedkar Colony) and had interacted with people to know the status of Scheduled Caste members. Later, he sat on the Ashwatha Katte near Puttur Bus Stand and took rest. Then, he had interacted with well-known writer Shivarama Karanth, Molahalli Shivaraya, Satya Sai Trust's Dr Sundar Rao, Elthimar Sanjiv Shenoy and advocate Sadashiva Rao. 

As a respect to Gandhiji, Ashwatha Katte was later turned into a memorial. Unfortunately, the Ashwatha Katte has turned into a disputed land now. The area surrounding the Katte has been dug and it may collapse anytime.

Gandhi Mantapa and Gandhi's bust are here only for name sake. The spectacles and the stick of Gandhi bust have disappeared. Gandhi Mantapa has turned into a den of illegal activities due to the neglect of the authorities. The authorities remember the Mantapa only during Gandhi Jayanti, Republic Day and Independence Day. 

Gandhian C H Konchanna Rai was responsible for the construction of the Gandhi Mantapa. Over a period of time, the Mantapa has lost its old charm. The Mantapa had a huge stage, two separate rooms on either side of the stage and two separate toilets. However, the windows and doors of the Mantapa have disappeared. The Mmantapa premises are filled with filth, including liquor bottles and cigarette buds. 

The well dug by Gandhi's followers at Ragikumeru Colony is not being used now. It is used only for immersion of Ganesha idols during Ganeshotsava celebrations.

Social B Purandar Bhat, who has been fighting to save the Ashwatha Katte said, "There is a conspiracy to clear the Ashwatha Katte. Keeping forth the issue of traffic, the branches of the tree are cut often. It is a tragedy that there is a conspiracy by elected representatives to clear the Katte."

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Gandhi memorial neglected in Puttur

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