‘Fortification’ of Kankaria raises voice of dissent among intellectuals

The “fortification of Kankaria” has stirred the city intellectuals to raise a voice of protest against the civic body’s ‘dual onslaught’ of tampering with heritage and depriving the middle-class and poor of their resort to relax.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published:February 8, 2009 3:07 am

The “fortification of Kankaria” has stirred the city intellectuals to raise a voice of protest against the civic body’s ‘dual onslaught’ of tampering with heritage and depriving the middle-class and poor of their resort to relax.

Views expressed at the Visual Arts Centre on Saturday ranged from submitting memoranda to the authorities concerned to liberating the place by staging street plays.

Questions were raised as to who owned natural resources and public places if not the people and that the government was just a trustee that maintained them. They also said that development could not be at the cost of the poor who find themselves displaced in the process of development.

Lawyer Girish Patel said the project was in violation of several laws and it was high time that the project,an icon of commercialisation,was screened from legal angle.

Sarvodaya leader Chunibhai Vaidya suggested concrete action instead of merely meeting and talking,while prof Neelkanth Chhaya of the CEPT University said places like Kankaria Lake were markers of man’s relationship with nature and they belonged to nobody.

He also said the cost of maintaining them could be taken indirectly and in no case people be deprived of their association with them and sense of belonging.

Prof Ghanshyam Shah raised the point that while “we superimposed foreign ideas on our cities,we,at the same time,indulged in imposing moral policing”.

“The fortification of Kankaria is visible,but there is a lot of invisible fortification around us,” he said pointing out that the government was after beautification,but overlooked the backward march in public education and health facilities.

Playwright Saumya Joshi wanted concrete action in the matter to wake up people and the authorities. He said that in the next 15 days,his team would come up with street plays.

A campaign to collect at least 20,000 signatures that will be tagged along with the memoranda to be given to the Archaeological Survey of India,the Government of Gujarat and the municipal corporation.

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