The only agiyari (fire temple), holy place of worship for Zoroastrians or Parsis in Rajkot, has been battered by encroachments from nearby residents, causing irreparable damage to the 145-year-old structure.
According to trustees Rajkot Zarthosty Anjuman Trust that manages the agiyari, despite their representations to the Rajkot Municipal Commissioner and district collector, there has been not action against the encroachments.
Kushman Tamboli, secretary of the trust said they were helpless against nuisance from nearby residents, who have allegedly constructed illegal toilets and other structures on the agiyari’s outside walls.
“Illegal construction and encroachment on public street adjacent to the agiyari have come up over the years. Despite objection, illegal toilets have been constructed touching the outer boundary walls of the agyari. The waste from the toilets are directly affecting water in our well,” said Tamboli.
According to Tamboli, the well is essential part of a the agiyari and the water from it is used to perform religious rituals. The well water has been polluted and become unfit for human consumption due to sewage water from illegal toilets, he added.
Tamboli has also alleged that some people living near the agiyari were threatening the trustees for raising the issue with civic authorities. When TOI team visited the agiyari some of the residents objected to them taking pictures.
There are only 13 Parsis of four families living in Rajkot currently.
When contacted Rajkot municipal commissioner Banccha Nidhi Pani said, “We will soon take action against illegal construction if any and try to solve the sewage problem.”