After another round of delays, things appear to be looking up for the War Memorial project in the State capital with the Cabinet giving the go-ahead last week.
Senior officials of the Sainik Welfare Department said they expected construction to begin in the current financial year as the 1.5-acre site, at Akkulam, is ready for the project.
A May 24 Cabinet meeting had given administration sanction for the new War memorial – meant to commemorate soldiers from Kerala who fought in wars and military operations in the post-Independence years – with an estimated expenditure of ₹8.08 crore.
The design/layout created by the design wing of the Public Works department had been cleared by the war memorial committee, headed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue), in August 2022. The 1.5-acre plot was fenced off after successful soil tests and a topographic survey.
But after the proposal and cost estimates were placed before the government, the project had drifted into ‘sleep mode’ while funds were awaited. Now that the money has been sanctioned, it is expected that construction will begin soon on the project which was originally conceived in the 1990s.
The centrepiece of the memorial is a victory pillar. The landscaped environs will have exhibits of the defence forces including a decommissioned battle tank and a fighter aircraft. The design also features a hall of fame for war heroes and gallantry medal winners from the State and an audio-visual section.
The present war memorial in Thiruvananthapuram, which stands opposite the Government College of Fine Arts at Palayam, commemorates soldiers who fought in World War I. After the Centre asked states to construct new memorials, the Kerala Government had ordered the transfer of 1.5 acres at Shangumugham to the Sainik Welfare Department in June 1999. The project remained in limbo for years. Following objections that the site was being used as a playground, the war memorial committee formed in 2018 had decided on Akkulam as a better location for it.