Mumbai: The long-pending contentious issue of providing land for the proposed B.R. Ambedkar memorial here has moved forward with the central government agreeing to transfer a mill premises for the project, an official said on Friday.
The decision was taken at a committee meeting chaired by Textile Secretary Kiran Dhingra that was attended by Maharashtra Chief Secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad and other top officials.
Since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had already granted in-principle approval for the proposal on December 31st last year, the meeting at the outset decided to allot the entire 12.03 acres of Indu Mills land in Dadar, which is controlled by the National Textile Corporation (NTC), for the memorial.
On his part, Gaikwad outlined the process through which the environmental, legal and development plans would be met to enable the transfer of the plot for the memorial.
Gaikwad assured on behalf of Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan that the plot would be transferred to the state government in lieu of adequate compensation to the NTC, while Dhingra said the final clearance of BIFR (Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction) would also be required.
Following the prime minister's in-principle approval on Dec 31, 2011, a committee was set up to finalise the modalities of the land transfer.
While the first meeting of the committee was held Thursday in New Delhi, the next crucial meeting is scheduled in the first half of April, the official said.
The issue of land for the world-class Ambedkar memorial gathered momentum after Dalit activists 'captured' the Indu Mill land in December and vacated it only after a stern court order.
Later, other Dalit parties, including Republican Party of India had warned that unless the land was immediately handed over, they would again storm and capture the mill plot.
The Grand Memorial for Ambedkar is expected to come up in the Indu Mills compound, adjacent to Chaityabhoomi, where the last rites of the architect of the Indian Constitution were held. It is now a national monument, near Shivaji Park, Dadar, in central Mumbai, attracting millions of peopoe from all over the country.