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Kanpur police’s new task: keeping 300 statues in good shape

Monday 18 December 2006

Kanpur, December 17: The desecration of Ambedkar statue in Kanpur seems to have acted as a caution for district administration. It has decided to protect all 300-odd statues installed in different parts of the city.

Most of the statues are in a dilapidated condition, surrounded by garbage and covered with bird droppings. Of the total statues, around 75 are installed at the public parks and road crossings and most of them are encroached as well. And though much hue and cry was raised over the desecration issue, no one was worried about the condition of the same statue prior to that.

ADM City Abrar Ahmad told Newsline that policemen have been directed to keep a close watch on the statues and prevent any damage to them. He said meetings with the local people would also be held to promote a sense of responsibility among them regarding the protection of statues.

Sources in the Kanpur Nagar Nigam said the maximum number of statues are of Baba Saheb Ambedkar (75) and these are garlanded and washed only on the leader’s anniversary. After facing the wrath of the local people many a times when the statue got cracked or damaged during the washing and cleaning, Nagar Nigam employees avoid carrying out the work, they added.

Also, the sources said, there was no specific budget for the maintenance of these statues.

Sarvesh Pandey, the president of Chandrashekhar Azad Jan Kalyan Samiti who claims to be the only person looking after the statues of freedom fighters and political leaders, told Newsline that most of the statues were installed between 1960 and 1990 after repeated requests by the locals. “It’s shameful that those who struggled for the installation of these statues never turned up even on the anniversary of the leaders,” he said.

Pandey was of the view that it’s not the responsibility of the police or the administration only to protect these statues, but the local people should also take care of them.

Mayor Ravindra Patni said the administration should take initiative to protect the statues and there should be a police picket near the statues. Patni said traders’ associations would be contacted to appoint guards for the protection of statues.

According to Nagar Nigam, all damaged statues would be renovated and painted as soon as the budget for the purpose is received.

Most of the Ambedkar statues were installed by the Dalit population in their respective Ambedkar Nagar colonies. At P Road, such a statue can be seen standing in the middle of a garbage dump. Similarly, the statues of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Mangal Pandey, martyr Manindra Banerjee and others are also in a bad shape.

See online : The Indian Express

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