To; BY REGD A.D. Ref. : MMS/Cul/2007-08/321/ Dt: 28.12.2007 Smt. Ambika Soni, Hon'ble Minister of Culture & Tourism, Govt. of India Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India, C-Wing, Shastri Bhavan, New Delhi - 110 001 Respected Madam, Some days ago, Mai Marathi Sanstha - a NGO working for Marathi people, had organised a trip to Fort Raigad. The main objective of this trip was to sensitize our youths about our glorious pride, our rich history and create a sense of bonding and belongingness amongst them towards our culture in this era of eroded values and morality. Around 50 youths participated in this event. The fort still is magnificent and strong as ever. However, some unnerving points were observed during this trip. Those are stated below. 1) The railings leading to the fort are in crumbled state, many are either broken or not present. This being the only prominent route to the fort is always crowded. Trekkers and enthusiasts trek in the night to reach the fort in the early morning. The absence of railings therefore can cause serious loss to life and limb as there is steep valley on one side. 2) On the entire stretch of 100 acres on the plateau of the fort we could not find even a single dustbin. The vendors vending pan beedi, gutkha etc, don’t either maintain one. Resulting in plastic waste in form of pouches, water bottles etc being scattered all over the place. Some of the walls of this majestic fort are vandalized by graffitis. This is not only insulting to the historical monument but displays the total lack of interest on the part of the authorities that now govern it. 3) The throne of Shivaji Maharaj, from where once, Shivaji Maharaj ruled has today being vandalized. People climb upto the throne to pose for photographs and unfortunately nobody is there to prevent them. Does it not inflict direct insult to the great Maratha warrior and his throne? 4) On the entire fort we could not find a single security personnel manning the area. In today's world where terrorism has reached every nook and corner, is Raigad Fort not an easy target? What will happen if God forbid something serious happens to it? Wont it result in great turbulence amongst the people who love Shivaji Maharaj? 5) There is no proper sanitation facility or drinking water facility on the fort. 6) The plateau of the fort is of about 100 acre. The monuments like the throne of Shivaji Maharaj, The Takmak Tok, The Samadhi, Jagadeeshwar Temple are located at different places, however, there is no map indicating the whole or monuments as such. There are no boards indicating the history or importance of single monument on the fort. Just a single plaque is installed, which does not do the justice to the importance of the place. This fort, is one of the most important forts in Maharashtra and looking at the utter apathy shown by authorities towards upkeep of this monument, one can easily sum up the conditions of other lesser known forts and monuments. Madam, you will appreciate and agree that simple steps like repairing the railings, installing Dustbins, banning the stalls vending pan, gutkha or atleast making it mandatory for them to collect their own waste, employing nuisance detectors - people who can monitor cleanliness and sanctity of the place, security personnel, proper maps, boards indicating history of the place etc can display that the government and the authorities are really serious about their monuments. Madam, a nation that loses its history ceases to exist, it is said. Our History and the monuments that represents it, must be preserved and taken care of with utmost respect and responsibility. In our state of Maharashtra, the fort Raigad, perhaps is one of the most precious and most treasured piece of history, for it was from here that the Hindavi Swaraj ruled, it being the capital of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Madam, we would like to know what kind of steps are being envisaged by the government to improve the conditions on the fort. As of late, Maharashtra is being advertised as a Tourists destination. Are we going to showcase our most precious piece of history in shambles to the tourists? We request you to kindly look into the matter with grave seriousness and inform us accordingly. Yours sincerely, Bhushan Paithankar President Mai Marathi Sanstha. c.c : 1) Secretary, Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Govt.of India, New Delhi 2) Minister of Culture, Govt. of Maharashtra, Mantralaya 3) Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Maharashtra, Mantralay 4) Director General, Archaeological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Janpath, New Delhi-110011.