Suryakant Jena

Nayagarh: Pathani Samanta, one of the most illustrious astronomers that India has ever produced, is one of many things that people of Odisha are proud of. But the memorial of this scholar is now under threat, that too in his native Khandapada of Nayagarh district where he was born and rose to greatness.

A remarkable scholar famous for his naked eye astronomy, Samanta’s observations, research and calculations compiled in his treatise 'Siddhanta Darpana' have always captivated the imagination of generations.

According to sources, a memorial raised in the honour of Samanta in his home town is suffering from years of neglect. While the memorial building is in dilapidated condition, furniture and rare pieces of literature kept inside the library in the memorial are rotting. Cracks have opened up on the walls while plaster is flaking off the ceiling. This apart, several rare photographs and portraits of the scholar are lying on the floor.

Local residents have urged the administration to immediately undertake works to restore the memorial to its full glory.

It may be noted that funds for revamping the old memorial have been allocated several times in the past but due to alleged lack of interest and implementation at the administrative level, the building is yet to be repaired.

Binayak Sahu, Secretary of Pathani Samanta Smruti Parishad said “The organization established to honour the memory of Pathani Samanta is one of the oldest, but sadly it has lost its sheen and perhaps moving towards extinction due to lack of care.”

Prabhakar Sahu, Joint Secretary of Pathani Samanta Smruti Parishad said," Due to poor condition of the memorial building, no one wants to visit the place."

Khandapada NAC Executive Officer Itishree Sarangi, however, said that a tender would be floated within two months for renovation of the memorial.

"Developmental activities had been carried out in the memorial earlier and more works will also be undertaken soon," Baijayantimala Pattnaik, President of Nayagarh Zilla Parishad, said.