SUBJECT : Now, Gujarat tourism to manage Dandi route

Vadodara, March 20th: The 386-km long Dandi route taken by Mahatma Gandhi for the Salt March in 1930 during the freedom struggle, will be now activated.

Following TOI's report on the state of the plush Gandhi Ashram at Kankapura village, 35 km from Anand, that was lying unused since last five years, a High Level Dandi Memorial Committee (HLDMC) of Government of India has assigned management of Dandi heritage route to Gujarat's tourism department.
State's tourism department will now activate next month the entire route from the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad to Dandi village in Navsari district including the 21 places where Gandhiji had made night halts en-route.
On March 15, TOI had reported that for want of a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony Gandhi Ashram built at a cost of Rs four crore was gathering dust since five years. The Ashram which was set up with grants received from central government under Dandi Heritage Route was ready since 2011. Villagers of Kankapura had announced that they on their own will inaugurate the facility on Saturday without waiting for any government approval.
"I brought TOI's report to the notice of HLDMC members during our meeting on March 17. So far, the facility was not put in use for want of clarity on its management. Now, HLDMC has resolved that the management issue and now it will be done by state tourism department," said N Srivastava, managing director of Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited.
"We will be forming state level committee, a central level supervisory committee apart from local committee with representatives of villagers to ensure that Dandi heritage route and its facilities are put to use. We will inaugurate the facilities on any auspicious day in April," he said. 

"The historic Dandi route that has been marked as National Highway 228 will be made live with participation of students of universities and villagers. A publicity campaign will also be carried out for this purpose," he said, adding that of the 21 places where Gandhiji had made night halts, there are ten places with facilities to stay in two rooms while at two spots there is facility of 16 rooms. At other places, there are small 'smaraks' to commemorate the journey.

"After assurance from the top brass of Gujarat tourism, we have put on hold our decision to take possession of Gandhi Ashram. We will wait till April 15," said Shanta Parmar, sarpanch of Kankapura.

"We have however kept our date with Dandi March by installing Bapu's bust at the 'chabutra' from where he had addressed a large gathering during his stay here on March 19, 1930," said another gram panchayat member.

After making a night stay at Kankapura, on the second day, Gandhiji had taken a boat to cross the Mahisagar river to reach Bharuch's Kareli village for forward journey to Dandi.


Source: Times of India