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Government ready to foot cost of Ambedkar Bhavan construction

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State government will allocate funds for restoration of Ambedkar Bhavan, an old structure related to B R Ambedkar which was demolished recently, if the two grandsons of the dalit-icon prepare a joint plan, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in Legislative Council.

Ambedkar Bhavan and the Buddha Bhushan printing press, located in Central Mumbai, started by Babasaheb Ambedkar were demolished by Peoples Improvement Trust last month claiming that it was dilapidated and a grand Ambedkar Bhavan would come up in its place.

“If Prakash Ambedkar and Anandraj Ambedkar (both grandsons of B R Ambedkar who head different factions of dalits) come together and prepare a plan for the restoration of Ambedkar Bhavan and Budhbhushan Printing Press, the government is ready to allocate funds for restoration,” Fadnavis said while replying to a debate on a calling attention notice moved by Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe and others.

Prakash Ambedkar is the leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, while Anandraj heads a political party called Republican Sena.

The structure was built by Ambedkar out of his own money to provide place for ostracised dalits at that time. It also housed a printing press for publishing dalit literature.

Congress leader Narayan Rane had moved a supplementary query in this regard demanding that government should call the aggrieved parties to negotiation table.

The chief minister disclosed that orders to demolish the printing press issued by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) were not in order.

“Since the printing press was a heritage structure, there was no need for the structure to be touched. A probe will be conducted into whether the structure was dilapidated or not and whether the order was proper or not,” he said.

Fadnavis said the orders will be issued to include the structure in the heritage structure list.

“BMC, acting on reports of two structural engineers, had ruled that the printing press was in a dilapidated condition. BMC had given notice for its demolition within 30 days,” he said.

Fadnavis said the trustees should have informed the civic body, police and fire brigade before razing the building.

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