The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for construction of a ‘Rashtriya Smriti’, a common memorial site near Ekta Sthal, for performing the last rites of national leaders, including past and serving Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Prime Ministers and other leaders, as decided by the Cabinet.

The proposal to have a common memorial site had been mooted by the Union Urban Development Ministry, citing paucity of land in the Capital for the construction of samadhis for departed leaders.

“In the past, separate memorials for departed national leaders were created near Rajghat which covered a large space. In view of the Cabinet decision taken in the year 2000 that ‘henceforth Government shall not develop any samadhi for departed leaders’ and the paucity of land at the Samadhis Complex area, ‘Rashtriya Smriti’ is being developed to perform last rites of departed national leaders. The Smriti area will provide space for last rites of departed national leaders in future, besides space for a public gathering,” read a statement issued after Thursday’s Cabinet approval.

The Ministry, the nodal agency for land allotment and maintenance of memorial sites, had proposed that the “Rashtriya Smriti Sthal” should come up on the banks of the Yamuna, in between the existing samadhis of Jawaharlal Nehru (Shanti Van) and Lal Bahadur Shastri (Vijay Ghat).

A common memorial site was proposed following concerns over shrinking land resources in the Capital, the money being spent on the upkeep of these samadhis and the controversies that sometimes erupt over allocation of land for leaders.

The Rs.40-crore project was designed on the advice of the UPA Government. The Ministry has proposed that a common memorial will help streamline the maintenance of samadhis and cut down on expenses.

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