Puducherry

Kamaraj memorial plan put on back-burner

Work on the Kamaraj manimandapam on the East Coast Road in Puducherry has been making slow progress.

Work on the Kamaraj manimandapam on the East Coast Road in Puducherry has been making slow progress.   | Photo Credit: T.Singaravelou

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Staggered release of funds and political sparring reportedly delaying the project

Even five years after the Puducherry government’s ambitious plan to build a memorial for the late Congress leader and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Kamaraj was revived, the project has been progressing at a snail’s pace because of dearth of funds.

Although the foundation stone for the structure was laid twice — in 2007 and 2014 — the work has not picked up pace. The project was initiated in 2007, but was put on the back burner owing to administrative and fund-related issues.

“The project is jointly funded by the Housing and Urban Development Corporation (Hudco) and the territorial government at a cost of ₹24 crore. While Hudco has released ₹14 crore out of its total share of 90%, the Puducherry government is yet to release funds for the project, which has resulted in cost overrun and delays,” said an official on condition of anonymity.

About 70% of the work has been completed. “However, we have not made much progress.

The outer façade alone has been given a fresh coat of paint while interior work is yet to commence. Work on the granite flooring has just begun while electrical, plumbing and plastering work are yet to commence.”

Work is yet to begin on the museum inside the structure. The museum will house information panels and portraits on the life and history of Kamaraj and a life size bronze statue of the leader. However, this would be taken up only at a later stage. The official blamed the delay on slow release of funds.

A dream project

Local politics involving leaders of different parties had come in the way of completing the manimandapam. This was a dream project of the AINRC leader N. Rangasamy, who laid the foundation stone in 2007 when he was the Chief Minister of Puducherry, heading a Congress government. But this project did not go on expeditiously and again Mr. Rangasamy laid the foundation stone in 2014.

Again, the Congress government formed in 2016 did not give thrust to the completion of the project. Thus, the project has not been completed although three governments have come and gone since then.

Coming up on a 3.75-acre site, the complex will house the IAS, IPS training institutes for backward class students and an office of the Centralised Admission Committee (Centac).

Facilities for students

A senior official said the Manimandapam would have a built-up area of 4,417 sq. mt on the ground floor and 3,900 sq. mt on the first floor.

The building would have two open air auditoriums. The facilities for training include classrooms, library to accommodate 150 students and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 130 persons.

“The delay in the construction of the manimandapam had hampered setting up a training centre for students of backward classes appearing for the competitive exams. The training centre could not be accommodated because the structure is delayed. All other important components, including the library for students, have come to a grinding halt because of the delay in completing the structure,” said T.S. Venkata Subramanian, a resident of Rajaji Nagar.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 7:52:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/kamaraj-memorial-plan-put-on-back-burner/article29873097.ece

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