PLACES

KOPARGAON

Situated in 1954' north latitude and 7433' east longitude. Kopargaon is the head-quarters of the taluka bearing the same name. It is a municipal town where the municipality was established in 1947. The town covers an area of 6.4 square miles and has, as per the Census of 1971, a total population of 25,829 souls. It is a railway station on the Daund-Manmad broad gauge route of the Central Railway. It has a post and telegraph office and a Government rest-house. The town has a protected water-supply. Besides the primary schools, the educational facilities are provided by two pre-primary schools, three high schools, viz., the S. G. Vidyalaya, Karmavir Bhaurav Patil Vidyalaya and Dr. Mehta Kanya Vidya Mandir. Facilities for higher education are provided by the K. J. Somaiya Arts and Commerce College and the Sadguru Gungagir Maharaj Science College. The medical facilities are provided by the private medical practitioners and a municipal dispensary with twelve beds. Kopargaon, being an industrial centre in the district, has the branches of the Ahmadnagar District Central Co-operative Bank Ltd., Bank of Maharashtra, the Kopargaon Peoples' Co-operative Bank Ltd., the New Citizen Bank of India Ltd. and the State Bank of India. A weekly market which is also a cattle market is held in the town on every Monday. The agricultural produce market committee was established at Kopargaon in the year 1948, the jurisdiction of which extends over 102 villages, the commodities regulated being gur, wheat, jowar, bajri, gram. math, mug, tur, linseed, safflower, ground-nut, mosambi, cotton and sheep and goats.

Telephone facilities have been provided at Kopargaon. A state transport depot has also been established at Kopargaon.

Being the head-quarters of a taluka, located at Kopargaon are the offices of the Manilatdar and the Block Development Officer. The court of the Civil Judge (Junior Division) and First Class Judicial Magistrate is also located at Kopargaon. There is a police station at Kopargaon, the jurisdiction of which extends over sixty-three villages.

The municipality was established at Kopargaon in the year 1947 and it covers an area of 6.4 square miles. The municipal council is now governed under the Maharashtra Municipalities Act, 1965. The municipal council is composed of nineteen members including one co-opted member with two seats reserved for women and one seat reserved for the scheduled castes. The Chief Officer is the executive head of the municipality and he is assisted by the necessary ministerial and non-ministerial staff. The municipal council has formed nine committees, viz., standing committee, sanitary committee, dispensary committee, udyan committee, school committee, market committee, library committee, octroi committee and electricity and water-supply committee.

The total receipts of the municipality during the year 1961-62 came to Rs. 4,72,500 including an amount of Rs. 2,91,418 received from municipal taxes, the per capita municipal tax being Rs. 17.28.

The total income [The income and expenditure of the municipality during 1970-71 was Rs. 17,94,000 and Rs. 17,04,000 respectively.] of the municipality during the year 1968-69 excluding extra-ordinary and debt heads amounted to Rs. 8,59,229 and was composed of income from municipal taxes, Rs. 6,12,255; realisation under the Special Acts, Rs. 4,309; revenue derived from municipal property and powers apart from taxation, Rs. 1,09,717: grants and contributions, Rs. 1,21,435 and income from miscellaneous sources. Rs. 11,513. During the same period the total expenditure of the municipality excluding extra-ordinary and debt heads came to Rs. 7,07,197 and comprised general administration and collection charges, Rs. 1,88,294; public safety, Rs. 78,238; public health and convenience, Rs. 4,10,279; grants and contributions, Rs. 21,000 and miscellaneous expenditure, Rs. 9,380. During the same year the income and expenditure of the municipality from the extra-ordinary and debt heads amounted to Rs. 66,116 and Rs. 65,516, respectively.

For public convenience the municipality has constructed a separate building wherein a vegetable and fruit market is located. The municipality also makes arrangements for holding weekly markets. Other municipal buildings include a hospital, a municipal office and library and an octroi naka. The municipality has constructed a causeway over the Godavari and a bridge over the Khadak nala. The municipality conducts one hospital known as the Kopargaon Municipal Hospital. A veterinary dispensary is conducted by the Zilla Parishad, the municipality paying about Rs. 3,000 to the Zilla Parishad as annual contribution. The piped water-supply to the town is managed by the Government.

Primary education has been made compulsory in the town and is managed by the Zilla Parishad. The municipality pays about Rs. 30.000 per annum to the Zilla Parishad as primary education contribution. The total road-length in the municipal limits is 24.60 kilometres, of which a length of 3.69 kilometres is asphalted, 6.18 kilometres cement-concrete, 5.61 kilometres metalled and 9.12 kilometres un-metalled kutcha motorable road. The municipality maintains two tire brigades which are fully equipped. The municipality maintains four gardens, viz., Mahatma Gandhi Udyan, Shivaji Balodyan, Jijamata Udyan and Lal Bahadur Shastri Udyan. The meeting hall of the municipal council known as Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Hall is made available for public functions.

In the town there are 35 temples, three masjids, one church and a mansion of Raghobadada.

The municipality does neither maintain a crematorium for Hindus nor a burial-place for Muslims. Hindus use the bed of the Godavari as a cremation-ground and the Muslims maintain their own burial-grounds.

Kopargaon was the favourite residence of Raghunathrav or Raghoba, the father of Bajirav II, the last Peshva. Raghoba was cremated at Hingni, a place three miles off, where one of the palaces of Raghunathrav has a cenotaph of his. In 1804 Balaji Lakshman, the Peshva's Governor of Khandesh and Manohargir Gosavi inveigled 7,000 Bhils into their power at Kopargaon and threw most of them into two wells. In 1818 Kopargaon was occupied by Madras troops. As per tradition it is believed that Shukracharya, the Guru of the demon king Vrishaparva, obtained the knowledge of Sanjivani vidya at Kopargaon,

Objects: The objects of interest in the town are the palace or vada of Raghunathrav, a fortified stone enclosure in the Godavari and the temple dedicated to Kacheshvar.

The vada of Raghunathrav, his favourite place of residence at Kopargaon, was used to accommodate the other subordinate Judge's court. One of the rooms has an excellently-carved wooden ceiling.

In an elbow of the Godavari and surrounded on three sides by its bed stands a fortified cut-stone enclosure (65'X58'X60') with massive black walls. It has one gate but the side towards the river is open. In the centre is the cenotaph or thadge, a very small work of timber and brick upon a coarse stone plinth with no writing or ornament.

The temple of Kacheshvar stands near the site of the old palace in the island. The temple is a set of plain buildings and is held in great honour. The group contains the temples of Shukracharya and of his daughter Devayani too.

Every year a fair is held at Kopargaon on the day of Mahashivaratra, i.e., Magha Vadya 14 (January-February). About 10,000 people assemble at the time of the fair.

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