19 July, New Delhi
After members of the All India Trinamool Congress questioned the delay in building of the memorial of former President A P J Abdul Kalam, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today assured that its foundation would be laid on July 27.
Responding to the issue raised by Derek O’Brien (AITC) in the Rajya Sabha during the Zero Hour, Mr Parrikar said that the Centre wanted five acres of land for the memorial. However, as of now only 1.8 acre was available.
”The Tamil Nadu government is supporting what we are trying to do. We have already decided that whatever land is available, we are setting up a memorial for which foundation will be laid on July 27.
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,” Mr Parikar said.
July 27 is the first death anniversary of Dr Kalam.
Earlier, raising the issue, Mr O’Brien said the existing grave of the late former President of India APJ Abdul Kalam in Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu was in the shambles and not being maintained properly.
”The piece of land where Dr Kalam is laid to rest is under a metal shed and lacks maintenance,” he claimed. The AITC Member’s statement led to an uproar in the House as the AIADMK Members refuted his claims that the state government was responsible for lack of maintenance of the place.
AIADMK Member Vijila Sathyananth disapproved the claims made by O’Brien even as he continued to request construction of a memorial for the late leader.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, however, said that the Tamil Nadu government is cooperating with the Centre. However, the memorial’s construction has been delayed due to land ownership issue.