In Narendra Modi's Gujarat, grand statue for Sardar Patel but what about his school?

In Narendra Modi's Gujarat, grand statue for Sardar Patel but what about his school?

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Ahmedabad A Rs 2000-crore plan to build the tallest statue of India's iron man Sardar Patel, but not even a few lakhs to spare for a school where he studied. Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi may find it hard to explain the irony.

Mr Modi announced in June his grand vision for a statue of Sardar Patel "double the size of the Statue of Liberty" by the banks of river Narmada to save the fading legacy of Vallabbhai Patel, India's first home minister and BJP's main icon to counter the Nehru-Gandhi legacy.

But in Sardar Patel's birthplace Karamsad, a school where the leader spent his early years has been lying in ruins, desperate for funds.

The school building was handed over to the Karamsad-based Sardar Patel trust in 2000, but over the years it has been reduced to a dump.

After local politicians pressed for urgent restoration of the building, the trust wrote to the government in 2006, suggesting that it should be turned into a memorial for Sardar Patel.

The trust sent architectural plans and asked the state government for Rs 25 lakh, but all it got was a letter from the Director of Primary Education saying "there was no provision for it".

The state government said the trust had been allotted money since 2000 for the Sardar Patel memorial, but no money can be given separately to a private trust for a school.

For the people of Karamsad, the dilapidated building is a painful reminder of history falling victim to red tape.

"'Whoever comes here visits Sardar Patel's residence and statue, but no one cares about this school," said a local resident Shitij Patel, wishing the chief minister would take notice and step in to save the school.
Story First Published: July 18, 2013 12:26 IST

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