First Prez’s house a picture of neglect – Times of India

PATNA: Rajendra Smriti Sangrahalya, a memorial house of country’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad, located on the sprawling 32 acres of land of Bihar Vidyapeeth at Kurji in Patna, lacks proper upkeep and basic amenities for the visitors.

The memorial house is a repository of rare collections of photographs, personal belongings, clothes, medals, mementoes, prayer room and the bed on which the first President had breathed his last on February 28, 1963. The highest honour of ‘Bharat Ratna’ given to Dr Prasad is also housed at this Sangrahalay as a mark of his utmost dedication to the nation.

Needles to say, the onslaught of time is taking a toll on this rare memorial house. Located at a desolated place, the number of visitors has come down to just 25 to 30 per day at the Sangrahalay. There is no proper drinking water facility for the visitors. Roads are dilapidated and waterlogging has become a curse for the Sangrahalay. Streetlights need to be installed at every vantage point inside the campus.

Mementoes of the memorial house are decaying fast for want of anti-moth chemicals to preserve them. A mini oxygen cylinder, which was used to resuscitate Dr Prasad, is also kept in the memorial house. Caretaker of the memorial house expressed surprise that none of the high profile political leaders, including governor and chief minister, visit the place either on his birth or death anniversary.

“They prefer to garland his portrait in the town, but hardly find time to visit the actual place where he lived and died. It is unfortunate that memorials of other leaders have been developed with fountains, gardens and lights. Dr Prasad’s memorial house will turn into oblivion if the government takes no interest to develop it as a national memorial house,” said secretary of the Sangrahalay Rana Awadesh Singh, a retired IAS officer.

According to him, the state government must help to develop Dr Prasad’s memorial house. “Even district administration has not come forward to build roads leading to the memorial house for the convenience of the visitors. Bihar Vidyapeeth is maintaining it somehow by selling mangoes on the land belonging to Vidyapeeth. This year they sold mangoes worth Rs 4.5 lakh. The amount is too small to maintain the memorial house,” he said.

Singh said the Bihar Vidyapeeth has prepared a blueprint to develop the memorial house of Dr Prasad. It has also decided to beautify the cemented terrace where Mahatma Gandhi, Dr Prasad, Khan Abdul Gafar Khan, Braj Kishore Prasad, Jayaprakash Narayan and others used to hold evening prayers and meetings during pre-independence era, he said.

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