RTI prevents sale of historic Maharashtra sea fort

RTI prevents sale of historic Maharashtra sea fort

Submitted by alvin on Wed, 2016-08-31 18:48 Ratnagiri (Maharashtra): The single-minded pursuit by an RTI activist led to an expose and finally prevented the sale to a private party of a historical sea fort in Maharashtra, constructed in the early 1700s. The Yashwantgad Fort, now in dire straits, was once an imposing edifice acting in the long line of coastal defences, standing at the entrance of Rajapur Creek in Ratnagiri district. Sometime in early 2012, the owners of the 3.16-hectare land on which the fort stood, toyed with the idea of a sale which finally materialised in the form of an agreement on October 17 the same year. RTI activist Samir V. Shirvadkar got a whiff of the sale of the historic property and decided to pursue its details through an RTI plea on August 23, 2013. "I was shocked to learn that the once-magnificent fort had been sold for a paltry Rs 3.50 million and even the name change documents (7/12 extract) had been prepared in the name of the buyers," Shirvadkar said. Yashwantgad Fort on Ratnagiri coast in Maharashtra. Sale in 2012 exposed by RTI and now it's taken over by state govt. Declared as a protected ancient monument of importance in Maratha Naval History. He filed another RTI plea the next month and secured the copies of the agreement, the sale deed and other relevant documents pertaining to the sale. "It was sold by the current owners -- Vishwanath R. Patki -- to a couple -- Arvind T. Parkar and his wife Aneeta. The name change documents prepared by the revenue department also confirmed the sale," said Shirvadkar. "The current owner's family had been given the land and the fort as a 'gift' by the erstwhile British government in the late 1800s, for services rendered. But by then the fort had already outlived its utility and strategic value so there was no maintenance or upkeep of any kind," B.V. Kulkarni, Deputy Director, Directorate of Archaeology