Mumbai: MHADA to build two memorials to Dalit icon Ambedkar, writer Sathe

Memorial for Bhimrao Ambedkar, Memorial for Dalit poet Anna Bhau Sathe, BIT chawl rehabilitation work, mumbai news, maharashtra news, indian express news

Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad said redevelopment of MHADA’s old cessed buildings and colony will be undertaken soon.

The Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) is set to build two memorials — one to Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar and one to Dalit poet, writer and social reformer Anna Bhau Sathe. Housing Minister Jitendra Awhad, after meeting MHADA officials on Saturday, said residents’ rehabilitation work in Parel’s Bombay Investment Trust (BIT) chawl will also be done by the authority.

BIT chawl’s room 50 and 51 were once home to Ambedkar. The minister declared that the rooms would be converted into a national memorial. Ambedkar lived in the chawl from 1912 to 1934. A senior MHADA official said that each of the six BIT chawls have nearly 80 residents.

The other memorial to Ambedkar is coming up at Indu Mill, at Shivaji Park, which is spread over 12 acres. The total project cost for the Indu Mill memorial is close to Rs 700 crore and MMRDA is the authority that will be carrying out the project.

Apart from the Ambedkar memorial, Awhad said that in Chirag Nagar, Ghatkopar, a memorial will be built for Sathe. Sathe had lived in a 10x10 room in Chirag Nagar. Sathe, acknowledged as the ‘founder of Dalit literature’, played a vital role in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement and his powerful writing emerged from the lived experiences — fight for survival, casteist abuse and revolt against inequality — of marginalised communities.

Sathe went to school only for one and a half day but has written 35 novels, 10 folk dramas, 24 short stories, 10 powades (ballads), one play and a travelogue. Many more remain unpublished.

Awhad said, “Within a month, a detailed project report will be prepared on the two memorials, then further work execution will be decided.”

Apart from the two memorials, Awhad said the redevelopment of MHADA’s old cessed buildings and colony will be undertaken soon. To solve fund-related problems, the Maharashtra government is working to provide FDI to MHADA projects. The FDI will be used for redevelopment of MHADA layout to generate housing stock. The housing stock will be used by MHADA for common lottery, he said.

Currently, MHADA does not have a single home to hold the lottery for Mumbai boards. MHADA holds a housing lottery every year. The demand for these homes runs into lakhs. However, the number of homes on offer does not exceed 1,500.