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Pune’s mighty Chakan fort collapses due to shoddy repair work

Several brave Maratha soldiers laid their lives to protect it and now its debris is spread over the entire area. The villagers fear that the nearby wall may also come down in few days. 

pune Updated: Jul 18, 2017 13:08 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,Fort,Bad repair work
Repair should get done with top most priority as nearby walls are likely to come down in next few days, demand local villagers.(HT PHOTO)

The Chakan fort, also known as Sangramdurg, is the most recent victim of shoddy repair work done by the contractor appointed by the department of archaeology. The inner wall of the fort, which stood tall against mighty enemies, came crashing down due to heavy rainfall on Saturday morning.

Several brave Maratha soldiers laid their lives to protect it and now its debris is spread over the entire area. The villagers fear that the nearby wall may come down in few days.

“In 2013, a fund of ₹1 crore was allotted for the repair work of the fort. The department of archaeology appointed contractor Arun K Lanjewar for the job. The other buildings, which were built 300 years ago, are still in good condition and this fort on which repair work had been done collapsed in just three years. It clearly indicates that the work was done in haste and poor quality material was used,” said Pratik Jadhav of Sahyadri Pratishan, Chakan.

“Actually the contractor should have completed the foundation work of the wall properly, but instead he just dumped the debris and somehow erected the construction. It was bound to collapse one day. And now it’s going to affect the nearby walls too. We demand strict action be taken against the contractor and the repair should get done with topmost priority,” he said.

When contacted Vilas Wahane, assistant director of the archaeological department, Pune, admitted that the work was not properly done.

“The contractor failed to understand how much pressure the foundation can withhold and due to some cracks, it got unstable. We have already blacklisted the contractor. However, our priority is to get the work done, than punishing him,” he said.

“Our team is reaching Chakan on Tuesday and we will survey the area. To prevent further damage, our plan is to contact a local constructor and get the work done immediately. If the quotation is about three lakh, you need to invite tender but I don’t think this repairing cost will go above ₹2 lakh. So it won’t be a lengthy procedure and will control the damage soon,” added Wahane.

Historical significance

It is said that the fort was built by Bada Arab, a trusted commander of Mohammad Tughlaq in 1338. Chakan was a strategic place during Bahamani regime and later Shahaji Raje and Chattrapati Shivaji realised the importance of the fort and were keen to have it under their command. The fort become famous for it’s historic battle during 1660, when Mughal commander Shahist-e-Khan tried to capture the fort. Under the leadership of Firangoji Narsala, a small unit of 400 Maratha warriors fought bravely against an army of over 10,000 for almost 56 days. Even after the outer wall was breached by heavy cannons, the defenders kept fighting till the end.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 13:08 IST