Finally, Ambedkar memorial in Mumbai to see light of day

Mumbai, Sep 19 (IANS) After a delay of nearly five years and political bickering, the decks have finally been cleared for launching a grand memorial to Bharat Ratna B.R. Ambedkar, with a ground-breaking ceremony to be performed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, official sources said here on Saturday.

The world class memorial dedicated to Ambedkar — the chief architect of India’s Constitution — will come up on the 12.5 acres of land in the Indu Mills complex on the banks of the Arabian Sea at Dadar Chowpatty.

Modi is likely to lay the foundation stone here on October 4, but a formal announcement is expected only after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other leaders discuss the issue with the Centre soon.

The original plan was to hold the function in April, but it was postponed as both Modi and Fadnavis were outside the country.

The inauguration is now being planned for next month as the present Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena coalition government is scheduled to complete its first year in power on October 31 and would showcase it as one of its major achievements.

Considered one of the most awaited memorial projects on the lines of the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai, all parties cutting across the political spectrum are in support of the Ambedkar memorial.

In April, Modi witnessed the signing ceremony of a tripartite agreement between the union textiles ministry, the Maharashtra government and the National Textile Corporation to transfer the 12.5 acres of land for the Ambedkar memorial.

The plot is situated next to Chaityabhoomi in Dadar, where Ambedkar’s last rites were performed on December 7, 1956, after his death a day before in Delhi.

As bickering continued over the nitty-gritty pertaining to the land transfer since the former UPA government, the proposed memorial site was picketed by various groups, unofficial ground-breaking ceremonies were held by the Mumbai Congress and it has been the subject of vociferous political protests and debates.

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