The decks have been cleared by the Centre to transfer prime Indu Mill land in Mumbai to the Maharashtra Government for constructing a memorial to B R Ambedkar, meeting a long-pending demand of several political parties in the State.
“The Government of India has taken a view to make available this land for use by the Government of Maharashtra for the construction of a befitting memorial,” Textiles Minister Anand Sharma said in identical statements in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha today.
The ashes of Babasaheb Ambedkar are interred at Chaitya Bhoomi, situated in the vicinity of the 12.5 acre land of India United Mill, popularly known as Indu Mill, under the National Textile Corporation at Prabhadevi in central Mumbai.
“The government has initiated the process to give effect to this decision and I will be shortly moving the necessary legislative proposal for Parliamentary approval. I seek the support and endorsement of the House,” Mr. Sharma said.
Dalit outfits had set December 6, Ambedkar’s death anniversary, as the deadline for the State to decide on the issue, failing which they threatened to forcibly occupy the mill premises.
Mr. Sharma said the decision was taken respecting public sentiments and in response to Maharashtra’s request, and taking note of the unanimous resolution passed by both Houses of the Maharashtra Legislature.
He hailed Dr. Ambedkar as one of India’s tallest leaders and acknowledged his contribution in guiding the process of framing the Constitution.
It may be recalled that a delegation of MPs from Maharashtra, led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday to press for transfer of the land.
Republican Party of India leader Ramdas Athawale welcomed the Centre’s announcement regarding handing over the land for construction of the memorial. “The long pending demand of lakhs of followers of Ambedkar has been fulfilled,” he said.
Earlier, Mr. Athawale had threatened to forcibly take over the land at the defunct Mill if the Centre did not announce handing over the mill land for construction of the memorial. The agitation has been called off following today’s announcement in the Lok Sabha, RPI said.
A party spokesperson, quoting Mr. Athawale, said the State Government should now help expedite the process of actual transfer of the land by April 14.