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Maharshtra govt to acquire Ambedkar house

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The Maharashtra government Monday said it is going to acquire within 15 days the 2,050 sq ft three-storey bungalow in London where BR Ambedkar lived as a student in 1921-22.

The state government said it wants to transform the house, located on King Henry’s Road, London, and cost the government Rs 40 crore, into a memorial for those who wish to study Ambedkar.

Emphasising that the Maharashtra government was committed to buying the house, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said, “We have sent the confirmation letter and money has been released for the purchase, though there were some issues which required to be resolved since it related to purchase of property overseas.”

The state government, which initiated the process of acquiring the London property in 2014, has been accused of delaying the process by Congress and NCP leaders in the state. Opposition leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil said, “If the government has no money, we will buy the London house.”

Dismissing the opposition allegations, state minister for social justice Rajesh Badole said, “There is nothing like last day of striking a deal for the property. There have been some hiccups while dealing with the purchase. But the entire process will be completed in a fortnight.”

After the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when Narendra Modi took charge as prime minister, Fadnavis, who was then the state BJP president, had discussed the issue of Ambedkar’s London house. The prime minister gave his nod but formal negotiations began only after October 31, 2014, when Fadnavis took charge as the Maharashtra chief minister.

The state government’s attention to the London property had been first drawn by UK-based Federation of Ambedkarities and Buddhist Organisation (FABO) who urged the government to acquire the property which was on sale.

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