April 7, 2002
This day, last year, Devi Lal died. Haryana, however, doesn’t have to jog its memory to remember the former deputy prime minister. It can turn any corner, check any page of a newspaper, look up at any hoarding.
In the period since his death, Chief Minister and dutiful son O.P. Chautala has launched a flurry of projects in Devi Lal’s names or renamed existing ones.
The latest was the launch of the Devi Lal Rural Library Scheme this week. A granth has been published in memory and another is on its way. Chautala plans to install his statues at every district headquarter.
He set off the spree soon after Devi Lal’s death, setting up a committee to suggest ways to commemorate the former deputy PM. A trust headed by grandson Abhay Singh Chautala was formed by the family separately, and allotted land in Chandigarh to set up a memorial.
The prestigious Panipat Thermal Plant was named after Devi Lal, as was the new tourist complex at Ottu weir in Sirsa. The industrial model town at Manesar, a much-hyped project of Haryana Industrial Development Corporation, is now in the name of the deputy prime minister. Pension is disbursed as Devi Lal old-age pension.
A chair is being set up in Devi Lal’s name at Kurukshetra University. Two lifesize statues of the tau have been installed at Karman and Killianwali.
But Chautala’s wishlist isn’t over. The committee set up by him has recommended a statue in the Vidhan Sabha, a ‘‘kisan puraskar’’ worth Rs 1 lakh, an engineering college, a medical college, Medi City, Cyber City, Sports Complex, College of Information and Technology, an agriculture institute, an open university and rewards worth Rs 5 and 10 lakh to villages.
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