With a clean sweep, Eco-Pro winning hearts, minds

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 09 Aug 2017 09:48:53


By Ramesh Kallepelli,


The first mission of involving general public in cleanliness drive has been accomplished. We are heading towards second mission that is involvement of govt machineries, stressed Dhotre

Countrymen had voluntarily participated in Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission), the ambitious project launched by the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, to clean road, schools, government offices and others. The momentum, though, did not last for more than a couple of weeks. However, an environmental-based organisation from Chandrapur is working for more than 150 days to clean a heritage restoring it to glory. It might be first of its kind work in the country where a 500-year-old Fort has been adopted by an organisation to ensure that a great legacy is also clean and tidy.

Chandrapur city is located at the confluence of the rivers Erai and Zarpat and is home to the magnificient Chanda Fort. The old city is surrounded by 11 kms long walls called ‘parkots’. These walls have four gates to enter namely Jatpura Gate, Anchaleshwar Gate, Pathanpura Gate and Binba Gate. They have five windows (Khidki in Marathi) to enter and leave the old city - Bagad Khidki, Hanuman Khidki, Vithoba Khidki, Masan Khidki and Chor Khidki. Though Chandrapur is blessed with history, many of its people do not care much to preserve it for future generations. The archaeological conservation wing of the NGO Eco-Pro has taken up awareness drive about protection, conservation and cleanup of the heritage structures and monuments which are under bad condition in the city since March 1.

The President of Eco-Pro Bandu Dhotre underlined the importance of protection and conservation of such heritage structures and called upon all citizens to take initiative in this regard.

Talking to ‘The Hitavada’, Dhotre informed how Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and how meeting was arranged with all wings of Eco-Pro organisation to discuss how the drive can be implemented in the city so that it can change the scenario of the city. “We discussed to launch the project by cleaning the Chanda Fort located in the city. We also sent a letter to Archeological Survey of India on February 28 informing about the cleanness drive for the conservation of Chanda Fort under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Accordingly, we swung into the action and launched the drive on March 1 by cleaning debris and shrubs on the great Chanda Fort wall right from Patanpura gate where the British entered into the city,” recalled Dhotre.

More than 60 volunteers of different wings of Eco-Pro launched the drive of Chanda Fort by removing out plant growth and debris along the fort wall. Over 60 volunteers of Eco-Pro are involved in cleaning drive and around 30 volunteers take up the cleaning work every morning in turn between 6 am and 10 am in the city. “We initially thought that it would be simple task to clean up the Chanda Fort having four main doors, 39 bastions, 5 khidkis. The project is still underway smoothly due to expertise volunteers under different wings in the organisation such as adventure, wildlife, environment, disaster management, archeological, health, police, education, corporation and other.

We have completed the basic work such as cleaning the debris, wastage construction material on the ramp of the fort wall, garbage and others.

Initially, citizens thought that Eco-Pro got a contract to clean the Chanda Fort. However, we ignored it all and are still engaged in completing the project without any support from district administration, government. After some time, general public themselves joined hands with Eco-Pro to clean up the historic Chanda Fort wall. Yes, the first mission of involving the general public in the drive was accomplished and we are heading towards the second mission i.e. involvement of government machineries,” stressed Dhotre.

The Eco-Pro organisation received applause from Corporation, district administration, public representatives, authorities of ASI and other dignitaries from Chandrapur for their praiseworthy work done for conservation of Chandrapur icon Chanda Fort. On winning National Youth Award, Dhotre said that after completing of the project, the organisation has plans to approach the government requesting for restoration of Chanda Fort, maintaining cleanliness and tourism development for its conservation.

Ashutosh Salil, District Collector, who paid visit during the cleanliness drive, lauded the work done by volunteers of Eco-Pro organisation and mentioned that the district administration will plan to change mentality of the general public by involving them into the movement launched by organisation.

A meeting will be organised with NGOs, government machineries, corporation and others to discuss about the future course of plan for the protection of Chanda Fort. The district is now planning to shoulder responsibility of cleaning and conservation of Chanda fort to NGOs, common public and other government machineries, he added.