After Months Of Neglect, Government To Build Memorial For Former President Kalam

Former President Kalam's grave near his hometown Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu.

New Delhi: Five months after the death of former President APJ Abdul Kalam, work on his memorial is about to begin at the Pei Karumbu burial ground near his hometown Rameshwaram in Tamil Nadu.

This is after Mr Kalam's family raised concerns and pictures of dogs roaming the burial site flooded social media. The delay over beginning construction at the site, and the state and the Centre blaming each other for it only compounded the allegations of neglect. 

Sources told NDTV, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) - which Mr Kalam headed once - will pay for constructing the memorial. It has also sent a team of officials to the site. "We will, however, start constructing the boundary wall to maintain the sanctity of the spot, a senior DRDO official told NDTV and added that guards have already been posted.

While officials in Delhi said land hasn't yet been transferred, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha said her government had already "transferred the required land to the Central Government." The empowered committee headed by Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, set-up to decide on the memorial, has written to the state government asking for another two acres of land. The current site is 1.5 acres.  

Also, sources said that Centre has started looking out for an architect to design a memorial suitable for Mr Kalam's image of being people's president - an epithet he earned as president. Apart from the memorial in Rameshwaram, the Centre is also planning to build a memorial at the DRDO complex in New Delhi.