Bihar begins move to renovate Rajendra Prasad’s memorial

January 11th, 2010 - 2:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Jan 11 (IANS) After being neglected for decades, the memorial of India’s first president Rajendra Prasad here is finally set for a makeover on the lines of Rajghat — Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial in New Delhi.
Officials at the chief minister’s office Monday said that government has decided to spend Rs.2.5 crore in the first phase for the development and beautification of Prasad’s memorial this year.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had announced last year that the memorial would be developed jointly by the state and central governments on the lines of Rajghat.

The state department of art, culture, youth affairs and tourism has prepared a detailed project report to develop the memorial situated on the banks of river Ganga where Prasad was cremated in 1963.

The memorial in the heart of Patna is in a shambles. Renovation work started three years ago, but it still serves as a den for criminals and drug addicts at night.

Prasad’s memorial is by and large forgotten, barring two days a year — his birth anniversary on Dec 3 and death anniversary on Feb 28 when the governor, chief minister and top officials come calling.

Prasad was born in 1884 at Zeradei in Bihar’s Siwan district. After serving for 12 years as India’s first president — from 1950 to 1962 — he retired and was subsequently awarded the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian honour. He spent the last days of his life at the Sadaqat Ashram in Patna. Prasad died in 1963.

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