Mumbai: At a time when Bal Thackeray Memorial has been mired in controversy, the Centre has cleared decks to transfer prime Indu Mill land in Mumbai to Maharashtra Government for constructing a memorial to BR Amedkar, 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 to 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 on Wednesday.
This comes after the Brihan Mumbai Corporation issued notice to the Shiv Sena to demolish the temporary structure built at the Shivaji Park. Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray's cremation had taken place on the very same ground. The move came after BMC denied permission for a Bal Thackeray memorial at the Shivaji Park.
Notably, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) on Wednesday stalled the Question Hour in Rajya Sabha demanding construction of a memorial for Bhimrao Ambedkar in Mumbai. As soon as the House met for the day, BSP supremo Mayawati rose on her seat saying people have been awaiting for years for a memorial at a land owned by the Textile Ministry in Mumbai.
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 be moving the necessary legislative proposal for Parliamentary approval. I seek the support and endorsement of the House," 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.
Sharma said the decision was taken respecting public sentiments and in response to the request of the Maharashtra government and taking note of the unanimous resolution passed by both Houses of Maharashtra Legislature.
Sharma hailed Ambedkar as one of India's "tallest" leaders and acknowledged his contribution in guiding the process of framing the Constitution.
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.
Maharashtra government had proposed a grand memorial near Chaityabhoomi, Babasaheb Ambedkar's final resting place in Dadar in Central Mumbai a few years ago. (with PTI inputs)