The over 2,000 lesser-known places across India beginning from Aat village in Gujarat to Zulifur in Bihar will sport a new look and host tourists from across the world if the proposal sees the light of the day.
The sites, most of which are in a dilapidated condition, have been identified in a report submitted by a sub-group of the Gandhi Heritage Committee headed by Gandhi’s grandson and former West Bengal Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.
“On the recommendations of the Panel, a proposal is under consideration to establish Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission for the tangible and intangible heritage of Gandhiji,” the Lok Sabha was informed recently.
Sources in the Culture Ministry said under the ‘Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission’ all the 2,000 sites will be protected and conserved with a view to showcasing them to the younger generation and tourists.
“The Mission’s main job will be to renovate the sites, paint the buildings and put proper signages and lighting arrangements so that visitors can identify the sites,” an official said. He said the sites will also be documented for future purpose.
The Government moves comes after demand from various quarters to conserve and protect the sites visited by Mahatma Gandhi.
The committee headed by Gopalkrishna Gandhi has submitted a voluminous book to the Government detailing how and why the sites are associated with the apostle of peace. Almost all the sites were visited by Gandhi during the freedom struggle.
The Culture Ministry appointed the committee in April 2006 for identifying and documenting sites associated with Mahatma Gandhi, with a view to strengthening their upkeep and conservation for posterity.
The official said the sites are located in almost all parts of the country, including in north-eastern states, and the committee had done extensive research to collect details from various sources.
“Some of the sources are Gandhi Smriti, biographies written by various people on Gandhi. The committee had also travelled to some of these places,” he said.
The book has every detail about the sites like how and why Gandhi visited the place and so on, a senior official said.
Some sites in Pakistan and Bangladesh have also been identified for conservation and preservation, he said.
The government will also put up sign boards which will ducate the tourists about how and why Mahatma Gandhi was associated with the place.