Children playing cricket in the fort premises
Children playing cricket in the fort premises

Bhayandar  : A year after much hyped announcements of launching an elaborate project to revive the historic Ghodbunder Fort and to beautify its vast surroundings, the proposal continues its existence in the dusty files of the district administration.

Following Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik’s intrvention, a joint survey of the fort was conducted by a team of officials from the district collectorate and the Mira Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC) in July 2014. The then collector is said to have given an in-principal nod to allot fund amounting Rs 1 crore after permission from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), prompting the MBMC of an assurance to bear the remaining expenses and also shoulder maintenance responsibilities. However, thanks to official apathy the heritage structure continues to be a worst example of utter neglect.

Sensing gravity of the situation, Sarnaik has now listed the matter of restoration as an urgent issue before the legislative assembly.

Originally named as Cacabe de Tanna, the Ghodbunder Fort, was built in 1730 by the Portuguese who had settled in this region in 1530. The territory and fort remained under the rule of Portuguese until 1737. Despite several attempts, the Maratha warriors failed to capture the fortress but eventually besieged the fort and successfully occupied it by defeating the Portuguese army in the year 1737.

“This fort is a monument of our glorious history and it’s not only our duty but a responsibility to preserve it. I will ensure that the government wakes up from its slumber and immediately initiates restoration work,” said Sarnaik. Thanks to the unmindful restoration and preservation work initiated by ASI-appointed contractors, some walls of the fort now sport white patches of plaster. The ancient church in vicinity of the fort which was founded by the Portuguese and later transformed into a MTDC-tourist hub also lies in shambles.

Suresh Golani

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