Guj compensates residents to redevelop Sabarmati Ashram

Gujarat govt begins compensating residents to redevelop Gandhi-founded Sabarmati Ashram

The state government, based on suggestions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is redeveloping the ashram

After independence, the Ashram was divided into five major trusts. Credit: iStockPhoto

The work of redeveloping Mahatma Gandhi-founded Sabarmati Ashram into a "world-class memorial" has taken off, with the state government starting to disburse compensation to the residents whose ancestors settled at the Ashram on Gandhi's call. In order to speed up the work of rehabilitation of the residents, the authorities have set up a "coordination committee" that has members including Ahmedabad collector and three residents of Ashram, among others.

"The committee has been formed to coordinate with various stakeholders including rehabilitation of the residents. So far, we have compensated Rs 40 lakh each to 19 residents," Ahmedabad collector Sandeep Sagle told DH. There are over 200 families, a majority of them from Scheduled Caste community, whose forefathers settled at the ashram from 1917 onwards on Gandhi's call. The state government has earmarked Rs 1,200 crore for the project called, "Gandhi Ashram Memorial and Precinct Development Project" that plans to bring the Ashram into its "original shape" as Gandhi established.

The state government, based on suggestions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is redeveloping the ashram that aims to integrate over 35 acres of its campus, housing 63 heritage properties established during Gandhi's lifetime. The plan is to bring together all original structures into one campus. At present, the campus is scattered into several parts which are managed by different trusts.

After independence, the Ashram was divided into five major trusts- Sabarmati Ashram Preservation and Memorial Trust (SAPMT), Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala Trust, Harijan Ashram Trust, Harijan Sevak Sangh and Khadi Gramodyog Prayog Samiti. SAPMT manages Sabarmati Ashram, which is popular among tourists and houses Hriday Kunj where Gandhi lived during his stay. The state government has roped in architect Bimal Patel as the master planner for the development.

"We are helping the government in coordination and other work required for rehabilitation. We just want that every deserving family should be properly compensated. The government has fixed Rs 60 lakh per family as compensation to those who want to leave and housing facilities to those who don't want money," said Hemant Chauhan, a resident of the ashram and a member of the coordination committee. The other members are retired IAS officer I K Patel, Additional Commissioner of Police, sector-2, Gautam Parmar, among others.

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