The memorial for the late President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam would come up at the site where he was buried and the foundation stone for the building would be laid on July 27. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that the Tamil Nadu Government was extending all necessary cooperation in erecting the structure.
“The foundation for the memorial will be laid on July 27. The Centre wanted 5 acres of land for the memorial but as of now there are only 1.8 acres. But we are going to start the construction with whatever land available on July 27,” Mr Parikkar said. The first death anniversary of Dr Kalam will be observed on July 27.
“The Tamil Nadu Government is supporting what we are trying to do. We have already decided we are setting up a memorial for which foundation will be laid on whatever land is available. On 27th, we are going ahead with the programme on the land already in our possession. Design has been finalised and we are not waiting for additional land,” Parikkar said.
Mr Parrikar was responding to Trinamool Congress MP Derek O'Brien's charge that Dr Kalam's burial site is in a neglected state, which drew sharp protests from AIADMK members. The members were on their feet asking Mr Brien to stop his speech even as Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked them to go back to their seats. AIADMK floor leader A Navaneethakrishnan's repeated pleas to give a clarification on the issue went unheeded.
Raising the issue, O'Brien said today is 'Guru Purnima' when one pays homage to 'gurus' and those who have taught us good things in life. “But are we really doing this...Because 500 miles or so from Chennai in Rameswaram, one of our greatest gurus, one of our greatest teachers, is laid to rest in Rameswaram and next week we will complete one year since he passed away.
“And yet there is a site, which is lying with a tin shed roof, there dogs defecating everywhere. It is total mess. I am referring to the burial place of the memorial ground of none other than our former President A P J Abdul Kalam,” he said.
On Monday, a team, comprising officials from the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Coast Guard, visited the spot in Rameswaram and oversaw the arrangements made for installation of his bronze statue, which will be unveiled on July 27.