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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

National War Memorial: Dikshit appeals to Sonia Gandhi

PTI  New Delhi, December 20, 2012
First Published: 02:41 IST(20/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:43 IST(20/12/2012)

With defence minister AK Antony rejecting her opposition to build a national war memorial at the India Gate, chief minister Sheila Dikshit has sought UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's intervention on the issue.

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The chief minister has written a letter to Gandhi stating that construction of the memorial in the India Gate will seriously affect the ambience of the area and restrict people's movement at the popular hangout zone.

Last week, Dikshit in separate letters to Antony, home minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Urban development minister Kamal Nath, had opposed the proposal to build the memorial at India Gate and called for finding an alternative site.

But notwithstanding Dikshit's opposition, Antony on Sunday had said India Gate was the right place to build the memorial.

"As far as we are concerned, this (India Gate) is the place to have a war memorial. We are very clear," he had said.

In her letter to Gandhi, Dikshit said India Gate is the only popular hangout place for people of the city and coming up of the memorial there would restrict movement of people in the area due to security reasons.

She said setting up of the memorial would also affect the ambience of the area.

In August, a GoM headed by Antony had recommended establishment of the National War Memorial at the Princess Park complex near India Gate. A final decision in this regard would be taken by the Union Cabinet.

The armed forces have been demanding a war memorial in the national capital to honour their men who made supreme sacrifice in various wars, conflicts and militancy-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.

The Defence Ministry has been pushing for construction of the memorial near India Gate which is a memorial for soldiers killed in action during the First World War.

In view of the demand of the armed forces, the government had set up the GoM in 2009 which was headed by Pranab Mukherjee before he became the President.

The Urban Development Ministry and the Delhi Urban Art Commission had objected to the memorial, saying it would spoil the ambience at India Gate. Delhi government had conveyed its reservation to the proposal earlier also.


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