MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Government is all set to acquire the ownership of the three-storey bungalow in London, where Dalit icon and architect of Indian Constitution Babasaheb Ambedkar lived as a student in the 1920s, within 15 days.
Refuting reports that the owner of the bungalow might pull out of the deal, a state minister said the “exchange of contracts” for the purchase of the bungalow will take place in two days and the state will get its ownership within 15 days.
All procedures related to acquiring the 2,050 sq ft bungalow will be over soon and it will be handed over to the state government within the next 15 days, state Social Justice Minister Rajkumar Badole said.
“There is nothing called last day for the purchase of this house. It has been decided that the exchange of contract between both parties will take place within two days. There is no monetary problem as far as the government is concerned.
There have been hiccups in the process, but the government will certainly buy the house within 15 days,” Mr Badole told PTI.
He alleged the reports suggesting that the property’s owner had threatened to withdraw the offer it it was not processed by today were “planted” by the Opposition to cast the government in bad light.
“The Opposition (Congress and the NCP) could do nothing about it in 15 years. When we are taking a step, they want to pull us back by planting stories that would put the government unnecessarily in a bad light,” he said.
Reacting to the charge, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said Mr Badole’s statement “smells of hypocrisy” and proves that this government has no respect for Ambedkar.
“The cultural affairs minister (Vinod Tawde) went to London and announced that the government will buy the house. If the government did intend to buy the home, where has the money that they claim was allocated gone? We have just highlighted that the government is disrespectful towards Ambedkar,” Mr Nirupam said.
The state government had announced earlier its decision to acquire the property at Rs 31 crore and to be preserved as a memorial to Ambedkar, an architect of Indian Constitution besides being the most vocal champion of the rights of the suppressed classes in the country.
The BJP-led Government headed by Devendra Fadnavis has also made a budgetary provision of Rs 40 crore for buying the London bungalow.
However, bureaucratic delays in departments concerned has resulted in the transaction to take far too long.