Notwithstanding a recommendation by a Group of Ministers to set up a National War Memorial at India Gate,Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has strongly opposed the proposal,saying its construction will take away the sheen of the “peoples’ place” in the city.
Comparing India Gate complex with Chaupati in Mumbai and Marina beach in Chennai,Dikshit said setting up of the war memorial will severely affect the ambiance of the area and restrict movement of people.
“It is a peoples’ place. It is just like Marina beach and Chaupati. My point is that you can make a memorial anywhere else. Why spoil this beautiful place? Why become a hindrance to the peoples enjoyment?” Dikshit told PTI when asked about the issue.
In August,a GoM headed by Defence Minister A K Antony had recommended the establishment of the National War Memorial at the India Gate complex.
“I have been there (India Gate) after watching a movie at about 12:30 in the night. I find the place jampacked. Absolutely jampacked. People come out to get some fresh air. It is a party atmosphere in the evenings there. We should not spoil the environment,” Dikshit said.
The armed forces have been demanding the war memorial to honour their men who made supreme sacrifice in wars,conflicts and militancy-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast. In view of the armed forces’ demand,the government had set up the GoM in 2009 which was first headed by Pranab Mukherjee before he became the President.
The Chief Minister said the construction of the memorial would restrict movement of people in the area due to security reasons. “There are so many other places in Delhi where it can be built. People from all sections come here including children.This place is close to people. Why insist on on this place for the war memorial?” she said.