The Capital is not likely to get a memorial for freedom fighter Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose anytime soon.
The Union ministry of culture has put cold water on a proposal forwarded by the ministry of urban development (UD) seeking the former’s opinion on whether a piece of land in the heart of central Delhi, which is currently allotted to Indira Gandhi Centre for Arts (IGNCA), can be given for setting up the memorial.
IGNCA is an autonomous body under the culture ministry and runs out of a sprawling 24-acre plot at Man Singh Road, the land for which was allotted in 1996.
Government sources told HT that last week the culture ministry wrote to UD ministry saying that IGNCA cannot spare any land within its premises for a memorial.
“IGNCA is an autonomous body. Though the land was allotted to culture ministry and a portion of it is lying vacant, IGNCA has refused to part with it on the ground that they have plans to utilise it,” said the source.
IGNCA’s refusal has not gone down well with the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose INA Trust, headed by Meghalaya MP PA Sangma which had in February requested the UD ministry for allotment of land for building a memorial and Centre for Asian Studies.
“India owes a very big debt of gratitude to Netaji for his contribution to the country’s independence movement. It is for the government to decide whether they want to repay the debt or want to be called ungrateful as a nation,” brigadier (retired) RS Chikara, executive vice-chairman of the trust told HT.
The trust was offered a plot on DDU Marg but it rejected it and told the UD ministry a more prominent place was needed, closer to Rajpath. Sources said the UD ministry which was initially mulling over the proposal later decided to put the ball in the culture ministry’s court as it wanted to avoid unnecessary controversy.