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HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014

Place where Bharat was born lies in neglect

Arvind Moudgil  Dehradun, March 14, 2014
First Published: 13:57 IST(14/3/2014) | Last Updated: 14:21 IST(14/3/2014)

Kotdwar: Just 15-km off Kotdwar town in Uttarakhand lies Bharat's heritage in neglect.

The name of the place is Kanvashram, about 100 from Dehradun. A legend goes that Maharishi Kanva raised the abandoned daughter of holy maid Urvashi and Rishi Vishwamitra, named Shakuntala, who gave birth to Bharat after their secret marriage with king Dushyant.

Bharat spent his childhood in the ashrama and later became the name giver of Bharatvarsh, that is India. The place today has a few broken old idols, some half buried in the mud, some stolen away, some used up in the walls. But the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) appears to have no time to preserve the heritage. The place often throws up beautifully carved stone idols and statues even on a little digging, or ploughing.

Kanvashram is situated on the banks of Malan River amid a thick forest. It covers about .64 hectares of land enclosed by a boundary wall. Within the walls lie the idols of Kanva Rishi, Shakuntala, Bharat and lions in utter neglect.

In 1956, former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Sampurnanand had visited the place on the direction of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru and laid a foundation stone for the development of this area. The foundation stone with Sanskrit inscription bears witness.

In fact, there had been a lot of pressure on the government from a group of people who wanted the place to be developed into a great heritage resort with a centre for research on the Bharat of Maharishi Kanva's time. There have been promises, visits by political figures, but nothing really happened on the ground.

A renowned local scholar Pitamber Dutt Devrani had launched a campaign of sorts to turn the place into an educational hub as there used by a gurukul on the place during the Maharishi Kanva's times.

According to sources, a local MLA SS Negi and a cabinet minister had drawn attention of the government to the rare ancient idols and statues jutting out of the ground here and there. They wrong a letter to former culture minister Amrita Rawat in 2012 suggesting a museum should be built and the rare statues be preserved.

After 10 months, the director of cultural department asked the regional archaeological officer at Pauri to conduct a survey and forward its report. In February 2013, two nontechnical clerical level officials from the regional archaeological department were sent to Kanvashram. Going by their report, the regional archaeological department stopped with the cultural department on this matter.

However, Ashish Kumar, the regional archaeological officer wrote a letter to the archaeological department of India at Dehradun in August 2012, asking them to conduct a survey fair assessment of the place.

However, it cited paucity of manpower, technical knowhow and budget to undertake the task. The careless attitude towards the rich past does not augur well for the state that makes tall claims of promotion of tourism, said AR Nautiyal, an activist from Kanvashram support group.


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‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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