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Foundation laying ceremony of Ambedkar memorial postponed

Dr Ambedkar

Mumbai : The foundation laying ceremony of the Bharat Ratna Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar International memorial here, which was reportedly scheduled for October 4, has been postponed.

“The date of the ceremony was never decided and was never announced by the government officially. It was the media which said the ceremony would happen on October 4. The tentative date for the ceremony to happen is October 11, but the government will announce officially when it receives a confirmation from Prime Minister’s Office,” an official in Chief Minister’s Office said.

Mumbai Congress chief Sanjay Nirupam claimed the transfer of Indu Mill land from National Textile Corporation (NTC) to Maharashtra Government was not yet complete.

“An amendment to the NTC act would be necessary. By the flip flop over ‘bhumi pujan’ (foundation laying), the government is hurting the sentiments of the people and insulting national hero like Ambedkar,” he said.

Earlier this week, state agriculture Minister Eknath Khadse had said the date for this ceremony has been fixed for October 4.

He had informed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have programmes of laying foundation stone of two new Metro railway routes.

However, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar had said that the programme was ‘tentatively’ fixed for October 4.

“Final date will be announced after Prime Minister’s clearance. But the tentative date for the ambitious Ambedkar Memorial projects ‘bhumi pujan’ has been fixed for October 4,” Mungantiwar had said.

The state government had earlier planned the function this year on April 14, the birth anniversary of Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, but the event was postponed due to the foreign visits of Modi and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.

The 12.5 acre plot in the Indu mill compound that belonged to NTC was transferred to the state government in 2012.

The BJP-led government, which completes its first year in office on October 31, plans to showcase the project as one of its major achievements.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Congress today criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for postponing the ceremony.

“What can be more important than laying the foundation stone of the Ambedkar memorial,” State Congress spokesman Sachin Sawant asked.

He said earlier also the function, scheduled on April 14, was postponed because of the PM’s busy schedule abroad.

“After six months, a fresh date of October four was proposed and unfortunately this time too, the function has been postponed,” he added.

Sawant said the purchase formalities of residence of Ambedkar in London during his student days was completed only after criticism over delay.

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