Controversy Buried, People's President Kalam Gets A Memorial

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A statue of former president Dr APJ Abdul Kalam was unveiled at Peikarumbu in Rameswaram today.


Chennai:  Six months ago, cattle grazed a litter-infested field on which stood a dirty make-shift structure in Rameshwaram. It was the temporary memorial for former president APJ Abdul Kalam - put on freeze following a controversy over the handover of the land.

Today, on the first death anniversary of the former president, a lifesize golden statue stands on the site. The Centre and the state have come together to give the people's president a national memorial.

Inaugurating the bronze statue, Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said, "Dr Kalam will live forever in our minds and hearts. His thoughts continue to be with us all the time."
 

In Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.


The site will house a planetarium, a library and also an auditorium, where scientific lectures and presentations will be conducted. Besides, Rs 48 crore has been allocated to develop Dr Kalam's hometown, Rameshwaram.

The memorial for India's missile man had started after media reports about the utter neglect of the site where Dr Kalam had been buried and the subsequent public clamour. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had promised that a memorial will come up there and requested the Tamil Nadu government for the grant of the land.
 
Former President Kalam's grave near his hometown Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.

But even after the state allotted the 1.3 acres for the memorial, work did not start for months, even though the place was treated like a pilgrim centre. Not only Dr Kalam's admirers, pilgrims to the Rameswaram also stopped by to pay their respects to the man who was hailed as the father of India's missile programme.

Dr Kalam - who was in office as India's 11th President from 2002 to 2007, died of a cardiac arrest on July 27 at a hospital in Meghalaya, where he had gone to deliver a lecture. He was 83 years old.



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