Vadodara MP opposes making of building overlooking Pratap Vilas Palace

The appeal urged "all citizens of the city and the country to stand up against this decision". The Gaekwad family, through the museum, also started an online signature campaign on September 17 to submit the same to the Ministry of Railways.

Vadodara Member of Parliament Ranjan Bhatt, on Tuesday, made a presentation in the Zero Hour on the floor of the Lok Sabha, seeking preservation of the Pratap Vilas Palace in the city. The royal Gaekwad family of Vadodara and the family-run Maharaja Fatesingh Museum Trust, on July 30, had issued an appeal to residents of Vadodara to unite and protest the proposed construction of a multi-storeyed building by the Union Ministry of Railways in the historic Raja Baug garden overlooking the heritage building. Bhatt, in her three-minute oral request, urged the Union Railways to reconsider their decision to construct “a four-storeyed structure in the lawn of the palace that could ruin its aesthetic beauty”.

Bhatt, who spoke in Gujarati, stated that the palace has been one of the many architectural heritages that Vadodara has inherited from Maharaja Sayajirao Gaekwad III. Bhatt brought to the notice of the House that there is a proposal to construct a building to construct the National Railways University, the first in the country.

Bhatt said, “However, the proposal is to construct the building in front of the existing Pratap Vilas Palace, which is not only an architectural beauty but also a heritage structure. The construction of the multi-storeyed structure on its lawn will take away the beauty of the building. Therefore, on behalf of the citizens, it is my earnest request to the Ministry of Railways that the said University building should be constructed in any other place that is owned by the Railways, which has several properties in the city.”

The appeal urged “all citizens of the city and the country to stand up against this decision”. The Gaekwad family, through the museum, also started an online signature campaign on September 17 to submit the same to the Ministry of Railways.

On Wednesday, Radhikaraje thanked Bhatt on her Instagram post for “making our message heard in the Parliament”. Radhikaraje told this newspaper that the family did not receive any response from the Railways to their letter sent in July. “When we last checked, the construction had not begun yet. So, it seems to be (going) in the right direction.”

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