"My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my Nation." - Guru Kalam

Tributes to guru kalam

Kalam Memorial on the fast track to completion; statue unveiled

By Dr Anantha Krishnan M | JUL 2016

Former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam could be a not-so-happy-man today after listening to the meaningless speeches made by politicians, meters away from his resting place (kabar) at Pei Karumbu in Rameswaram.

But the millions of followers of People’s President must be happy after seeing the foundation stone for the delayed Dr A P J Abdul Kalam National Memorial being laid today.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) did an ‘appreciable job’ by decorating the kabar, making it look completely different. They managed to hide the tin-shed with colorful floral decoration.

The Bharat Ratna completed one year resting under the tin shed today, with the government now promising to complete the memorial without further delays.

Venkaiah steals the show with speech laced with wit

Union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu needs a special mention as he was the only saving grace on a day marked with speeches sans any messages. Every speaker used up more time addressing the dignitaries present on the dais again and again.

Venkaiah was at his inimitable best and used the opportunity to mix humorous tit-bits between speeches. His Tamil translator TamilisaiSoundararajan, Bharatiya Janata Party Tamil Nadu president, too matched up with the skills of the minister.

Venkaiah floored the audience with his opening remarks in Tamil. But, he followed the footsteps of AIADMK ministers who prMore funds aised their Chief Minister PuratchiThalaivi J Jayalalithaa at the drop of a hat.

Minister says Kalam and Modi are karmayogis

Venkaiah said Modi representing Kashi/Varanasi and Kalam from Rameswaram are two karmayogis. He said the Modi government would spread Kalam’s PURA (Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas) to more areas but gave no details to substantiate it.

“I wanted all of you to join MODI. Not Narendra Modi, but Making Of Developed India,” he said. He received maximum applause whenever he mentioned the name of Jayalalithaa. Modi came second and Kalam, third.

He said Rameswaram was added to the AMRUT mission of central government.

More funds allocated for Rameswaram

“An amount of Rs 42 crore will be spent for sewage works and Rs 3 crore for development of parks. Today we have decided to build a 53-room guest house at a cost of Rs 23 crore for the people who visit Rameswaram. It will be named Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Holiday Home,” he said.

“But remember, Kalam never took a holiday,” he added. Venkaiah Naidu said the PM would take a call on the memorial’s final shape.

When asked about the time-frame by which the memorial would be completed, the minister said: “It’s not yet finalised. We need to get more land.” However, he couldn’t give the total project cost for the proposed memorial.

PM fulfilling Kalam’s vision: Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar kept his speech short and said he was leaving all the talking to his senior cabinet colleague Venkaiah Naidu.

“Modiji is attempting to fulfil the vision of Kalam. CM Jayalalithaa has promised more land. We will complete the project in record time. Completing the project within the deadline was Kalam’s vision and we will try to do the same,” Parrikar said.

Parrikar said the work will now be completed by DRDO and not Military Engineering Services (MES). “It will be DRDO now,” he said. When asked about the project details, Parrikar said the time frame for the memorial is still being worked out.

Earlier in the day, the ministers offered pranams at the kabar by placing wreaths. The bronze-statue of Kalam was also unveiled.

There was a mild commotion between the police and the media at the beginning of the event. The media wanted vantage position to cover the event, while the police thought otherwise.

Kalam’s family members were present in large numbers. His elder brother APJM Maraikayar was the first to be seated on the dais, with the ministers acknowledging his presence.

Thousands thronged the memorial site and many were seen waving the tricolour and shouting slogans. (Reproduced with permission from Mathrubhumi English.)

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