Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said that the designing of “Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam National Memorial” coming up at his burial site at Pei Karumbu near here was almost in the final stage and work would begin in August.
He was addressing reporters after laying the stone for the memorial on Wednesday with Minister for Urban Development M. Venkaiah Naidu. The memorial would be completed in record time, Mr. Parrikar said.
“The process of completing the work in time would be given highest priority,” Mr. Parrikar said, adding the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which has taken up the task, would not allow “a single day’s delay.”
Paying glowing tributes to Kalam, he said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was working hard to achieve the former President’s ‘Vision 2020.’ “In a way, the Prime Minister is attempting to fulfil the vision of Kalam,” Mr. Parrikar said.
Mr. Naidu said that though the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) under his Ministry wanted to build the memorial, Mr. Parrikar suggested that the task be given to DRDO as Kalam had a long stint with the organisation. Though the DRDO has taken charge, the CPWD would extend its fullest cooperation, Mr. Naidu said.
Ms Jayalalithaa had promised him that whatever needs to be done for a befitting memorial would be done by the State government. “The memorial, besides being a symbol of our collective gratitude to Kalam, will stand like a temple or mosque or church for the present and future generations to remember the Indian system and culture and draw inspiration from the life of the great man,” Mr. Naidu said.
Mr Modi has been taking personal interest in the memorial and the design would be finalised after his final approval, Mr. Naidu said. A museum depicting the life history of Kalam, a planetarium and an auditorium would come up on the memorial, he said.
The Union Ministers also unveiled a life size bronze statue of Kalam, a 3D model of the memorial and a photo exhibition depicting Kalam’s life. Union Ministers Pon. Radhakrishnan and Subhash Ramrao Bhamre, Ministers Nilofer Kafeel and M. Manikandan, family members of Kalam led by his elder brother APJM Maraikayar and party leaders, including BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan and district president K Muraleedharan, were present.