UT shoots down Badal govt’s plan to install Ambedkar statue in assembly | punjab | Hindustan Times
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UT shoots down Badal govt’s plan to install Ambedkar statue in assembly

Chandigarh administration has turned down the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government’s proposal to install a ‘large statue’ of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambdekar on the premises of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

punjab Updated: Sep 19, 2016 21:21 IST
Arvind Chhabra
Chandigarh administration
Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal during monsoon session at Punjab Vidhan Sabha in Chandigarh.(HT File Photo)

Chandigarh administration has turned down the Parkash Singh Badal-led SAD-BJP government’s proposal to install a ‘large statue’ of Dr Bhimrao Ramji Ambdekar on the premises of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha.

Citing the ‘Edict of Chandigarh’— the Le Corbusier-mandated rulebook on city’s planning — the UT administration has said the proposal can’t be adhered to, as no personal statues can be installed in the state capital.

The Punjab government had written to the UT finance secretary and the chief administrator informing them of its decision to install the statue. It had even convened a meeting to work out the modalities. The letter sent UT officials into a huddle and the administration wrote back to the Punjab government that such a statue can’t be permitted here.

Punjab speaker Charanjit Atwal had stated in May that a “large statue” of Ambedkar would be installed in the Vidhan Sabha during a specially called session in October. The current year marks the 125th birth anniversary of Dr Ambedkar and the Badal government has planned a series of events on the occasion. Many see this move as an attempt to woo Dalit voters as the state goes to the poll early next year.

The administration in its communiqué has highlighted the extract of the ‘edict’ which says: “The age of personal statues is gone. No personal statues shall be erected in the city or parks of Chandigarh. The city is planned to breathe the new sublimated spirit of art. Commemoration of persons shall be confined to suitably placed bronze plaques.”

The UT letter says the edict of Chandigarh is part of the report of the expert committee on preservation and conservation of heritage of Chandigarh, approved by the government of India. The letter adds that all provisions of this report stand notified as part of the Chandigarh Master plan 2031.

The UT says the Vidhan Sabha is an iconic structure of the Capitol Complex which has been inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site recently. The administration and the Centre both are signatory for its proper preservation and conservation of authentic design, it adds.

The decision has the stamp of the UT administrator who is also the Punjab governor, say Chandigarh officials.

Have already placed order for statue: Speaker

Speaker Atwal said the state government would decide its next plan of action soon. “We’ve already placed an order for the statue and it would be identical to the one installed in Parliament,” he said. “Where exactly it will be installed in the Vidhan Sabha is yet to be decided,” he added.

Asked why the government was installing the statue of Ambedkar now, Atwal said since it’s the Dalit icon’s 125th birth anniversary year, a statue of him in the assembly would be a great tribute to the architect of the constitution. “We plan to install it around November 26 as it was on that day in 1949 when the Constitution was adopted,” he said.