Durgapur – Amrita Kuteerams – FREE Housing Project

Posted on 10. Jan, 2010 by in AmmaInBengal

Amrita Kuteerams - Durgapur, West Bengal

Amrita Kuteerams - Durgapur, West Bengal

As part of its Amrita Kuteeram Scheme, a FREE housing project for the homeless needy, Amma’s Math in West Bengal constructed 108 independent “pucca” homes. Each home has a size of approximately 220 square feet floor area. A plot of land for building these FREE houses was allotted by Asansol Durgapur Development Authority(ADDA) at Amravati in Durgapur. After successful completion of the construction of these houses, they were handed over to the homeless poor identified by Durgapur Municipality. This was done at a function attended by Honorable Minister Sri Bansa Gopal Choudhury and many senior functionaries of ADDA, District Administrator, and local leaders.

On successful completion of the above mentioned project, a larger program to construct 500 FREE houses for the homeless was taken up near Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur. Foundation stone of this project was laid by Honorable Speaker of Lok Sabha, Sri Somnath Chatterjee in 2004. The first phase of 250 (completed) houses was handed over to the beneficiaries by Sri Ashok Bhattacharya, Honorable Minister for Urban Development & Municipal Affairs, in December 2005, at Durgapur.

The Math also runs a free school for the poor children of the housing colony constructed at Amrabati, Durgapur.

Genesis of Amrita Kuteerams – Free Housing Project – in Durgapur

Amma’s first visit to West Bengal was in 1998. She arrived at Kolkata, the capital of the state. There was an overwhelming response to Amma’s visit. Consequently devotees were very keen to setup a center of Mata Amritanandamayi Math (MAM) at Kolkata.

Amma sent Brahmachari (Br.) Sadashiv Chaitanya to organize collective efforts and build a center at Kolkata. He had already successfully headed projects for construction of MAM centers at Hyderabad, Baroda and Ahmedabad. Br. Sadashiv and Amma’s Kolkata devotees spent next two years knocking on doors of various ministers and bureacrats (who were based in Kolkata) of the state government without any result.

At that time West Bengal’s communist government official were reluctant to involve themselves with a spiritual organization, even though Amma’s MAM was solely meant for serving the needy sections of our society. It appeared as if all doors for MAM’s entry to Kolkata were closed.

However God had other plans. In those days, a small group of devotees in Durgapur invited Br. Sadashiv to conduct some spiritual programs. On his visit, Br. Sadashiv found that Amma’s devotees in Durgapur were very keen about starting some of Amma’s charitable activities in Durgapur. Upon discussion, they concluded on setting up a school. With this idea they approached the then CEO of Asansolo Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA).

Surprisingly, the CEO of ADDA informed Br. Sadashiv and accompanying devotees that his mother had had Amma’s Darshan in Bangalore. Everyone was really filled with joy to see that at least someone (important official) in Bengal had heard about Amma and Her Math’s activities, in a place so far way from Kerala. Mr. CEO was also very interested in MAM’s Amrita Kuteeram (FREE housing project) and requested Br. Sadashiv to initiate a similar project in Durgapur. At MAM’s request for land for the school project, Mr. CEO happily acquiesced to present the proposal to ADDA’s board of directors.

At this point, Br. Sadashiv requested Mr. CEO if he could present a brief power point presentation on Amma and Her Math’s activities to ADDA’s Board. This idea appealed Mr. CEO and after a few days he got back to Br. Sadashiv with an appointment for the presentation to ADDA’s Board. On the deputed day, after ADDA’s Board members had completed their regular set of meetings, they gave Br. Sadashiv some time for his presentation. They asked a few questions and seemed to be satisfied. Overall ADDA’s Board members were very impressed with Amma and MAM’s activities all over the country.

After a few months of Br. Sadashiv’s request for land, Durgapur’s administration processed MAM’s files and allotted land for two projects simultaneously! They granted MAM 2 acres of land for construction of 108 Amrita Kuteerams at Amarabati Durgapur along with another 5 acres at Bidhan Nagar for seting up Amrita Vidyalayam and other educational institutions. This set the course for the beginning of Amma’s charitable projects in West Bengal.

The projects for building 108 Amrita Kuteerams and Amrita Vidyalayam were supposed to be completed by 2002. However they were delayed by a year. This was due to the fact that Amma’s team in Bengal were involved with massive rehabilitation work that was initiated due to a devastating earthquake in Bhuj area of Gujarat.

In March 2003, at a grand function attended by leading dignitaries of Durgapur, Amma Herself inaugurated the housing project (Amrita Kuteerams) by handing over keys to beneficiaries. She also inaugurated the Amrita Vidyalayam which was a secondary school affiliated to CBSE. This Amrita Vidyalayam received an overwhelming response in its first year itself. 400 students applied for admissions! Later on, Durgapur’s administration allotted another 5 acres of land in vicinity of Amma’s Amrita Vidyalayam for setting up other educational institutions.

After the first set of 108 Amrita Kuteerams (FREE Housing Project) was completed, Durgapur’s administration encouraged MAM to initiate and execute one more free housing project for the poor along with ADDA. An agreement for building another 500 free houses was signed. 5 acres of land were allotted for construction of the first phase of 250 houses. This piece of land was in Bidhan Nagar itself.

The foundation stone for this project was laid by Sri Somnath Chatterjee, former speaker of Lok Sabha, Government of India. The cost of this project was about Rs. 1 crore. By Amma’s grace, it was completed in 2004.

In Dec 2004, at a glittering function, the keys to the Amrita Kuteerams (free houses) were handed over to beneficiaries by Sri Ashok Bhattacharya, Honorable Minister for Urban Development, Government of West Bengal. It was at this function that Sri Ashok Bhattacharya, invited MAM to take up similar projects in Kolkata too. At that time Br. Sadashiv felt credence in the saying,

When God closes one door, he opens another window.

God had opened the window of Durgapur and through it allowed MAM to enter West Bengal. Later that window paved MAM’s way to Kolkata.

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