A centre of The People’s Improvement Trust, established by Babasaheb Ambedkar in 1944, is coming up at Dadar in place of the old Ambedkar Bhavan, the demolition of which triggered a dispute between TPIT trustees and the Dalit icon’s kin and his followers.
The social centre will come up at an estimated cost of Rs 60 crore within two years and will work towards promoting skill development and capacity building for the weaker section, chief advisor, TPIT, Ratnakar Gaikwad said TPIT has tied up with Pune-based Babasaheb Research and Training Institute (BARTI), formed by Maharashtra government.
“Since its inception in 1944, the aims and objectives of TPIT weren’t fulfilled due to reasons like legal issues and reservation of the plot meant for it, for a school,” Gaikwad said.
“The land was unauthorisedly being used as a marriage hall and for meetings as well for political offices. This was contrary to aims and objects of the Trust as well as against the vision of Babasaheb,” said Gaikwad, present chief information commissioner of Maharashtra.
Last year, TPIT got reservation of the plot changed from school to public hall and institutional use, which enabled the Trust to prepare plan for a 17-storeyed Ambedkar Bhavan. The plan was approved by BMC in April, he said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced full financial support to the project at a function to launch construction of Ambedkar Bhavan on 14 April, he said.
To be known as Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Bhawan Social Centre, the proposed building will act as a command centre for all social activities, Gaikwad said.
TPIT was established by Ambedkar on a half acre plot to set up a social centre as central headquarters to place the work of social regeneration on a permanent footing, Gaikwad said.
“BARTI is financially sound. We want to tie up with BARTI to set up a regional centre in Mumbai. One of the floors of the new building will be meant for BARTI,” he said.
The state government has announced Rs 7 crore as first tranche of payment for the project, he said.
“Our whole efforts are aimed at fulfilling Babasaheb’s dream. It is obligatory for the trust to ensure that its aims and objectives are fulfilled.
Since this was not done and trustees approached me for help and guidance, I thought it was my moral duty to suitably advise the trust to fulfill Ambedkar’s dreams and vision,” Gaikwad, ex-chief secretary of the state said.