Despite recent directives from the state administration, stipulating that henceforth no government institute shall give permission for installing any statue on its premises, PMC’s education board PMC has given approval for instituting a new representation of social reformer Savitribai Phule at the entrance of its office (pic above), right next to an idol of Goddess Saraswati.
The demand for Phule’s statue was first raised by political outfit Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh (BBM) about three months ago. At the time members of the group were clamouring for replacing the Saraswati idol with one of Savitribai. MiD DAY had reported on January 28 (‘Saraswati idol locked up by education board for protection’) about the desperate measures the board had to adopt for safekeeping of the idol. Now it seems both sides have reached a consensus.
“Our key demand is the erection of Savitribai Phule’s statue in the main building of the education board. That’s why we have given up on our insistence towards removal of the Saraswati idol,” said advocate Kiran Kadam, chairperson of Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh.
Last week, education board members Laxmikant Khabia and Vasanti Kakde offered a proposal of installing Savitribai’s representation and this accepted unanimously.
However, education board chief Shivaji Daundkar made it clear that though a decision has been made, it’s not the final one. “We are totally aware of the recent government notification against installation of new statues. That’s why we are forwarding our proposal to Bhavan department of PMC, which deals with such matters. We will go ahead with the plan only if we secure the necessary clearance,” he explained.
The then chairperson of the board Sangita Tiwari from Congress had instituted the Saraswati idol four years ago.