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Now a common samadhi in Delhi for leaders?

Smriti Kak Ramachandran
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NO OTHER SAMADHIS NOW?:President Pranab Mukherjee paying homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on Martyrs’ Day at Raj Ghat in Delhi on Wednesday.Photo: Sandeep Saxena
NO OTHER SAMADHIS NOW?:President Pranab Mukherjee paying homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on Martyrs’ Day at Raj Ghat in Delhi on Wednesday.Photo: Sandeep Saxena

The Union Cabinet is expected to take a decision soon on having a common memorial site here in the Capital for conducting last rites of senior national leaders instead of allotting land for separate samadhis.

The Union Urban Development Ministry, the nodal agency for land allotment and maintenance of memorial sites, has proposed that the common site that would be known as “Rashtriya Smriti Sthal” 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.

“It has been proposed that the mortal remains of Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers be consigned to flames at Rashtriya Smriti Sthal on a common platform, but there will be separate plaques installed in their memory where tributes can be paid to the departed leaders,” said an official, not wishing to be named.

The Rs.40-crore project, designed on the advice of the Manmohan Singh government, will be taken up only after the Cabinet gives its consent.

“Adequate land will be provided for the sthal so that it can accommodate large gatherings. The memorial site will be built keeping in mind the requirements of space and will be befitting the stature of the dignitaries. The only difference will be that the final rites will be conducted on a common platform,” the official said.

The Ministry is of the view that a common memorial will also help streamline the maintenance and cut down on expenses. In the past one year alone the Central Public Works Department, which is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the existing 12 memorial sites, has spent Rs.1.05 crore. In addition to this, the Government spends approximately Rs.4 crore annually for the security of the memorial sites.

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