Kandla Port to be renamed Bhai Pratap Port
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Dear Prime Minister Narendra Modiji,
We, the undersigned, have just heard of your cabinet's decision to rename Kandla port 'Deendayal port'.
It was the late businessman, freedom fighter and philanthropist, Bhai Pratap Dialdas, and the Sindhu Resettlement Corporation (the SRC) who laid the modern foundations of Kandla port. Bhai Pratap also founded the twin-township of Gandhidham-Adipur which services Kandla. We therefore suggest, that if the port is to be renamed at all, it should be named Bhai Pratap Port. This is not in any way a comment on Deendayal Upadhyayaji, but a request to recognise Bhai Pratap's historic contribution to Kandla.
Below is a brief history of how Bhai Pratap founded the modern port of Kandla .
In 1947, when it became clear that the partition of India was going to take place, Bhai Pratap, a man of great vision, realised that a port would have to be developed to replace Karachi, which was of great economic significance to India. Sindhi refugees, many of whom were traders and merchants, would need land to resettle and re-establish their businesses. Bhai Pratap identified Kandla as the ideal place to build a port. The then Maharao of Kachch, whose own efforts to develop Kandla had been thwarted by the colonial government, acceded to Bhai Pratap's request to grant land to the refugees. With Gandhiji's blessings, the Maharao gifted 15,000 acres of land abutting the port to the refugees to build a township and develop Kandla.
As you perhaps already know, Gandhiji received news that the Maharao had granted the land to the refugees on the day of his death. A few days later, Bhai Pratap immersed Gandhiji's ashes in Kandla creek. There are only two Gandhi samadhis in the world, one at Raj Ghat and one in Adipur.
After the integration of the princely states into the Indian union, the land granted to the SRC was reduced to 2,600 acres and the central government took over Kandla. It was nonethless Bhai Pratap and the Sindhu Resettlement Corporation who began the work on the port, hiring the German firm Heinrich-Butzer. Bhai Pratap accommodated the engineers who built the port in his own house and he shifted out.
The SRC and Heinrich -Butzer, which partnership was officially known as Sindhu- Heinrich -Butzer, also began major work on projects allied to the port, such as the building of Gandhidham railway station. This partnership built the first jetty at Kandla.
The delays in beginning construction on Kandla port were great, and it was only due to Bhai Pratap's relentless efforts that work was able to begin.
The Maharao and Bhai Pratap had envisioned Kandla as a free trade zone. In 1965, the government established Kandla as India’s first free trade zone. The Port of Kandla Special Economic Zone (KASEZ) was the first special economic zone of its kind in India and Asia, and has prospered ever since, but there is little recognition of the fact that this was due to Bhai Pratap's vision. The history of the building of the township and the port have been documented on the Sindhu Resettlement Corporation's website http://www.sindhu-src.org/index1.html
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