State united in free land for Ambedkar memorial
Sandeep Ashar & Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Dec 21, 2011, 02.24AM IST
NAGPUR: Assembly proceedings were adjourned twice during the day with
legislators from treasury and opposition benches demanding the release
of land belonging to Indu Mill at Prabhadevi in Dadar for a memorial
of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar.
The issue dominated proceedings in the legislative assembly and the
council for the second consecutive day.
The 12.5-acre mill land belongs to the centre-run National Textile
Corporation (NTC). All political parties have endorsed a demand made
by Ambedkar followers for constructing a memorial of the leader.
The political backing has only grown in the run-up to civic elections
in Mumbai, Nagpur and other corporations in February.
Following the adjournments, the legislative assembly unanimously
approved a resolution for requesting the centre to urgently hand over
the mill land free of cost to the state government. Chief minister
Prithviraj Chavan, who moved the resolution, also declared that the
state government will develop the memorial itself. A similar
resolution was adopted by the legislative council too.
Justifying the demand for handing over of the land at no cost, Chavan
said that the NTC land originally belonged to the state government.
"NTC obtained possession of the land after the mill in existence at
the plot stopped functioning," he said.
Claiming that the NTC's offer for making use of 4-acre portion of the
mill land for the memorial was not acceptable to the state government,
Chavan announced plans of leading a delegation to Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh immediately after the ongoing session to stake claim.
He said that the demand of the memorial had the support of citizens
from the state and other parts of the country.
Earlier, members of both sides aggressively raised the issue.
Opposition leader Eknath Khadse had even moved an adjournment motion
on it. But, speaker Dilip Walse Patil did not accept it.
Legislators on both sides - Sudhir Mungantiwar (BJP), Chandrakant
Handore (Congress), Subash Desai ( Shiv Sena), Jitendra Awhad ( NCP),
Nawab Malik (NCP) and Ganpatrao Deshmukh (Peasants' and Workers'
party) - spoke in support of the demand. Mungantiwar, Khadse and Desai
criticized the Democratic Front government for delays in raising the
demand with the centre.
Stating that the Cong-led state government had constantly followed up
on the demand, Handore demanded an FSI of 3 to 4 for the memorial.
He also asked the government to raise money for the project by
allowing generation of TDR for open spaces and other reservations on
the plot. Even Khadse endorsed this demand.
Apart from claiming that the demand was first raised by NCP's Vijay
Kamble, both Awhad and Malik also demanded renaming of the Dadar
station as 'Chaityabhoomi'.
Five MLAs, including Awhad and Malik, had been suspended for a day by
the Speaker over
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