Panvel man lights up Raigad Fort, faces case

Posted October 29, 2014 by admin in latest News

NAVI MUMBAI: He couldn’t bear that the final resting place of Chhatrapati Shivaji was in gloom as the country celebrated the festival of lights. Once Vishnu Gavali, a Panvel-based social worker, found out that electricity bills had not been paid for the historic Raigad Fort, he forked out Rs 31,410 himself to restore the power supply.

His reward: Threats of action from the very officials who are perhaps at fault for the lights going out in Shivaji’s ex-capital near Mahad.

Gavali, not to be cowed down, has asked officials and even Devendra Fadnavis, who is likely to become chief minister soon, to probe why the lights had gone out and fix responsibility. “I was shocked to learn that one of the most important forts of Maharashtra did not have power for the last 10 days even as all of us celebrated Diwali. I found out that ASI had not paid four power bills.”

For Gavali’s generosity, the Archaeological Survey of India, tasked with maintaining 300 monuments in the state, including the fort, is mulling legal action against him for interfering in its work. “How can a private resident pay the government bills of ASI? I will have to inquire about this and take action against this man (Gavali),” said Jitendra Nath, the superintending archaeologist of ASI (Mumbai Circle), when TOI contacted him.

“If the ASI wants to take legal action against me, they are welcome to do so. I wasted no time in paying the bills as this fort is the pride of the state and the entire nation. I have also asked state government officials, the Raigad district collectorate and the CM-in-waiting Devendra Fadnavis to probe and take strong action against all those responsible for the power cut at this famous fort which also houses the ‘samadhi’ of Chhatrapati Shivaji,” said Gavali.

“This is not really an issue, I have been informed lights were there at the fort. It is likely that during the monsoons, some of the lights may have stopped working. I will have to officially find out about this matter at Raigad,” the ASI official said.

“I have asked the zilla parishad officials and the power company to restore the halogen lights set up at Raigad Fort. We are inquiring how the power was cut to the fort,” said Raigad collector Sumant Bhange.

(1887)

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