With renovation work underway at the National War Memorial Southern Command at Ghorpadi, the site is all set to get a new look with 21 busts of Param Vir Chakra awardees, for which the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to contribute Rs 60 lakh.
“The National War Memorial in Ghorpadi is on defence land. It is the pride of the city and inspires visitors. Thus, the PMC has decided to fund Rs 60 lakh for its renovation,” said Hemant Rasane, chairperson of the PMC standing committee.
The memorial was constructed in 1998 with public participation through funds collected by the Indian Express Citizens’ War Memorial Committee – comprising local residents, corporate houses and the state government under the aegis of the Express Citizens’ Forum. The memorial was opened to tourists in August 2006.
The PMC, through the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML), offers a ‘Pune Darshan’ facility to tourists and the National War Memorial in one of the destinations in the day-long tour.
At the memorial, tourists may visit the Defence museum which exhibits tanks and other equipment used in wars. The museum also has a pillar with the names of soldiers and officers of the Indian Armed forces who lost their lives in various operations after the country gained independence.
“The renovation work of the National War Memorial has been taken up by the Ministry of Defence. It includes murals of fibre, a mural wall of RCC, 8 RCC pillars and PVC-made busts of 21 Paramveer Chakra awardees at an estimated cost of Rs 29.78 lakh,” said Municipal Commissioner Vikram Kumar. A new light system, 20 speakers and a 700-watt sound system with an amplifier will also be installed at the site at an additional cost of Rs 29.88 lakh, he added.
Even though the memorial is on defence land and does not come under civic jurisdiction, the PMC can take up its development work under the special provisions of Maharashtra Municipal Corporation Act, Kumar said. “The memorial, despite being out of the PMC area, is in remembrance of martyred soldiers of the country. It is a source of inspiration for people visiting it. Thus, it is not an unnecessary expenditure of the PMC.”
There are two options for the PMC to help in the renovation of the memorial – either by carrying out a tender process for the proposed work or making payment for the work for which the tender process has already been done by the defence establishment, Kumar further said.
The defence establishment plans to reopen the memorial to the public on January 26 even as it was shut due to the Covid-induced lockdown.
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