The sleepy town of Karauli in Rajasthan was awakened by a loud thud on a cold, winter night. A part of the ancient fort walls, Masalpur gate, which surrounded the Karauli town for 800 years had finally collapsed due to the negligence it suffered for centuries. As it went down, the wall destroyed two auto-rickshaws and a few houses that were built along it, but luckily all persons of the neighbourhood remained unharmed. “As soon as we heard some noise, we ran out of the room. Had we not run, 4-5 children and we would have been crushed under the walls,” recalled Aneep. However, Sunita Kasera, the community correspondent who shot this video questions the Karauli administration on this gross negligence, “Karauli was an ancient kingdom with valuable architecture across the town. Why didn’t the authorities repair this wall even after receiving RUIDP funds?”
SunIta was referring to the Rajasthan Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (RUIDP), a loan taken by the Government of Rajasthan from the Asian Development Bank. As per the RUIDP site, this fund is being used to improve the urban environment, public health and living conditions across selected cities and towns of the state. The $ 1337 million loan aims at improving various facilities in towns of Rajasthan, including cultural heritage and slum improvement.
But neither the ancient wall of Karauli, nor the slums under it have seen any improvement from the RUIDP loan. Upon investigation, Suneta found similarly dilapidated pieces of wall, hanging in balance by an inch. “If the municipality or the RUIDP don’t do anything about these walls soon, a significant population of Karauli which stays under these walls, will be wiped out,” warms Sunita.
Rajasthan’s tourism depends on the cultural heritage of the state. Such walls, forts, palaces and temples bring a significant earning to the state. The people of Karauli are concerned about such negligence, “We’ve given several written complaints, have met the authorities, but till date, no authority has come to do a damage inspection till date,” tells a resident.
It is time we as citizens and as administrators take responsibility of the local heritage monuments.
Community correspondent Sunita Kasera reports from Rajasthan for Video Volunteers.
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