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Congress wants Ambedkar’s Mumbai home in ‘hawker-free zone’

Opposition Congress has alleged that the BJP-led Maharashtra government was not keen on making ‘hawker-free zone’ the lane in Mumbai where Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s iconic house ‘Rajgriha’ is located and was not keeping with its earlier assurance on the matter.

Congress MLC Anant Gadgil has recently written to Minister of State for Urban Development Dr Ranjeet Patil pointing that the area where Amedkar lived for almost 14-15 years is yet to become free of hawkers.

The architect of the Indian Constitution had stayed in Rajgriha in Hindu Colony in Dadar area of Central Mumbai. It now has a library with over 1.5 lakh books, a study room maintained with books that were used by Ambedkar, a pen, table, and some of his clothes kept in a room.

During the budget session of the Assembly in April, Patil had assured that the lane where Rajgriha is located, would be declared as a no-hawking zone in his response to a question raised through a calling attention motion raised by Gadgil in the Legislative Council.

“Dr Ambedkar resided in Rajgriha. Many people visit the house to pay their respects to the great leader. It won’t be appropriate to let the area be crowded by hawkers,” Gadgil said in a letter written to Patil.

He demanded that the minister should take action against civic officials who have neglected the issue and have not taken action against hawkers.

Patil has, however, said that he has called a meeting in this regard.

“I received a letter from Gadgil and called BMC officials for a meeting this week. We have already instructed them to make the half-kilometre lane a ‘no hawking zone’. But it is BMC’s responsibility. We will issue an order again,” Patil said.

In a development, the state government had in August signed for the deal to purchase the three-storey house in London at 10, King Henry Road, where Ambedkar lived from 1921 to 1923 while pursuing his DSC (doctoral) studies at the London School of Economics.

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