New Delhi, Dec 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court today directed the Gujarat Government to find an alternative site for making roads to complete its town planning scheme, instead of demolishing parts of Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust, where Mahatma Gandhi spent 13 years of his life during the freedom struggle.
A bench comprising Justices S B Sinha and H S Bedi passed the order after Union Ministry of Culture in its affidavit said eminent Gandhians Nirmala Deshpande and B R Nanda have also opposed the demolition in parts of Sabarmati Ashram, and submitted before the court that no demolition should be carried out in the ashram and the state government must find some alternative site.
Earlier, the Sabarmati Harijan Ashram Trust contended before the court that the total area of the ashram is 57,000 sq metres area, out of which structures existing on 1000 sq metres has been decided to be demolished by the Gujarat government to make roads as part of its town planning scheme in Ahmedabad.
The Gujarat High Court had dismissed the petition of the trust, vide dated February 20, 2006, challenging the order of Gujarat government for part demolition of Sabarmati Ashram to make roads and also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the petitioner trust.
The ashram was built in 1916, and Mahatma Gandhi stayed there from 1917 to 1930. According to the trust, the ashram is a national monument and it should not rptg not be demolished as it is a heritage building.
The petitioner also pleaded that Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the nation, led the freedom movement from this ashram and he believed that the people of India not only needed political freedom but also economic and social freedom.