Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram’s wait for a war memorial continues

The goal of having a war memorial in the State capital for soldiers who fought in the post-Independence era wars and military operations is yet to become a reality, despite land being earmarked two years ago. Originally conceived in the 1990s, the project had languished on the backburner for years. Land-related objections later forced the Sainik Welfare Department, Kerala, to abandon a plan to construct the memorial near the Shanghumughom beach. Although 1.5 acres of government ‘poramboke’ land at Akkulam was identified in 2020 as the alternative site, work on the memorial is yet to begin.

Design yet to get nod

A design for the memorial submitted by the Sainik Welfare Department to the State government is also awaiting clearance, sources said.A senior official of the department told The Hindu that work on developing the land was in progress at Akkulam. The chosen location is close to the tourist village and the headquarters of the Southern Air Command. He attributed the delay to the outbreak of COVID-19 and problems in determining the precise boundaries of the land. The latter problem has been sorted out. ‘‘We have completed the construction of the perimeter fence. Soil tests are under way now,’‘ the official said.The way things stand, department officials expect to have the foundation stone for the project laid only by the next financial year, at the earliest.

Objections

The file on this project dates back to the 1990s when the Union government asked States to set up memorials. The Kerala government issued the initial order transferring 1.15 acres at Shanghumughom on June 28, 1999, to the Sainik Welfare Department. However, this plan had to be dropped as the site was being used as a playground and the local community raised objections. Akkulam was identified as a suitable location by a War Memorial Committee which was appointed by the State government in 2018.

The existing war memorial in the capital city, a pillar which stands in a small enclosure opposite the College of Fine Arts, commemorates the soldiers who fought in World War I.


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 6:42:16 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/thiruvananthapurams-wait-for-a-war-memorial-continues/article38308709.ece