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A common memorial site, meant to be the final resting place for departed statesmen, is almost complete in the capital.
Located between Shanti Van and Vijay Ghat along Rajghat, the Rashtriya Smriti Sthal will have a single platform for conducting the last rites of presidents, vice-presidents and prime ministers.
Though the work on the platform is complete, the entire complex and its integration with other memorial sites will be over only by November, Central Public Works Department (CPWD) officials said.
“A raised platform has been constructed on a granite base for conducting the last rites of leaders. Granite walls, almost 10-foot tall, are being built around the sthal. Bronze plaques in memory of each leader who is cremated here will be placed on these walls,’’ a senior CPWD official said.
“The lawns around the structure as well as its integration with other memorial sites in the area will take a while longer. Pathways will be built to connect Smriti Sthal with the other samadhis in the area so that one can walk from Rajghat to Smriti Sthal without any trouble. The entire complex will be ready by November,’’ the official said.
A common memorial site was proposed Union Urban Development Ministry, the nodal agency for land allotment and maintenance of memorial sites, following concerns over shrinking space in the capital and the money being spent on the upkeep of samadhis. Smriti Sthal is likely to cost Rs 40 crore.
Keeping in mind the space crunch in Delhi, in 2000, the Cabinet had decided, “Henceforth government shall not develop any samadhi for departed leaders due to paucity of land at the samadhi complex area. ‘Rashtriya Smriti’ is being developed to perform last rites of departed national leaders.”
Smriti Sthal will also have space marked out for public gatherings.
“Bronze plaques engraved with the dates of birth and death of each leader cremated here will be placed along the park so that people can pay their tribute to these leaders,’’ the official said.
“We did not want this to be just a cremation ground. We wanted it to be a garden where people can walk around. Proper signages will also be put up,’’ the official said.