It was a moral victory for Amchi Vasai, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), which prevented revellers from dirtying the Vasai fort on New Year’s eve. With the help of officials from Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Vasai police personnel, the NGO volunteers prevented about 100 cars and 150 bikes from entering the fort .
The volunteers had positioned themselves from 9pm at the main entrance of the fort on Saturday and stayed put till 4am on Sunday to prevent people from misusing the historical monument spread across 109 acres.
“We had decided to take control of the poorly-maintained Vasai fort,” said Dhananjay Shastri, Amchi Vasai president, adding, “We had also ‘warned’ people on social media to stay away from the ancient fort, which is maintained by the ASI, to not ruin the fort by dirtying it on New Year’s eve. Only families were allowed to enter the fort premises.”
Appreciating the efforts put in by the NGO inspector Sampatrao Patil from Vasai police station said, “We do not have manpower to station additional personnel at the fort, so we worked alongside NGO volunteers. Forts are meant to be preserved and not spoilt by littering.”
Around 35 volunteers of the NGO, 20 officials of the ASI and Vasai police personnel checked vehicles for liquor and drugs, and turned away most of the vehicles for carrying alcohol said Shastri. “Though some of the revellers started arguing after being denied entry to the fort, we told them the about ASI rule which bans entry to historical monuments after 6pm,” said Shastri.
Last month, volunteers from NGO Kille Vasai Mohim, founded by Shridatta Raut, a Bhayander-based accountant, carried out a cleanliness drive at the fort and cleared heaps of garbage, 1,000 empty liquor bottles, discarded innerwear, sanitary pads and cleared graffiti from the fort’s wall. Later, the garbage was dumped in front of the ASI Vasai office, located inside the fort, to highlight the scant attention being paid to the fort by it officials.
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