Cracks, missing tusks: Poor upkeep takes a toll on Dalit Prerna Sthal

  • | Thursday | 7th December, 2023

Noida: The Rashtriya Dalit Prerna Sthal — a sandstone memorial housing the statues of the architect of the Indian Constitution, BR Ambedkar, and BSP founder Kanshi Ram — is lying in neglect. Among the 24 elephant statues in the park, two have lost a tusk each — a poignant metaphor for the decay that has set in.Hundreds of people who reached the memorial on Mahaparinirvan Day — the death anniversary of Babasaheb — from Delhi-NCR and western UP not only found some of the tusks missing but also sandstone peeling off the elephant statues.The visitors also complained about a defunct cafeteria, dirty toilets and damaged drain covers. The horticultural waste lay collected into piles but did not get cleared throughout the day. The memorial, built in 2011 during the tenure of the BSP government, is clearly suffering from a lack of maintenance. But, the management told TOI that Lucknow-based Smarak Samiti, in charge of maintaining the compound, has been trying to plug the gaps. Mohammad Zakiullah, who had come to the memorial from Sangam Vihar in Delhi on Wednesday, said, The park has been facing neglect for some time. There are cracks in the walls and other structures. There have been no repairs in the past year, and the government must address all the issues.Manoj Kumar Boudh, a resident of Greater Noida visiting the memorial, said he paid tribute to Babasaheb but was shocked to see the poor maintenance of the park. The sandstone on the elephants looks damaged, and there is garbage in their vicinity. There are no functioning cafeterias. While I found some movable toilets, they were not clean, he said.In November this year, the Sthal recorded a footfall of 30,000. According to officials, the number reaches 2,000-3,000 on weekends and is 500-600 on weekdays.Manager Parul Sen said, We have informed Smarak Samiti about the damaged structures. The repair works are on. Currently, the dome is under repair. Fixing the tusks of the elephants will take a few months.Sen said there should be a cafeteria and Smarak Samiti is working on setting it up. She added that the management, last month, introduced a QR code-based payment system for ticketing and revised the ticket price from Rs 15 to Rs 20. Every month, the government earns nearly Rs 6 lakh from the park, which has 200 staffers.Meanwhile, on Wednesday, vehicular movement remained slow on the Film City Road from 10am to 12 noon on the Greater Noida–Noida side, but there were no traffic jams.

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