Former top cop files RTI plea on National Police Memorial

August 24th, 2008 - 1:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 24 (IANS) A fresh controversy has arisen over the National Police Memorial meant to pay homage to police personnel who laid down their lives while on duty with a former top cop filing an RTI plea seeking details about the cost and structure of the cenotaph.”I have filed a plea under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, seeking details about the structure of the new police memorial that has been proposed and the place where it would come up,” former director general of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) Gautam Kaul told IANS.

Kaul was among a large number of people who had objected to the previous memorial in the capital’s diplomatic enclave. He said he had been told that the Delhi Urban Arts Commission that approves such projects has proposed a new structure - a long wall built with various varieties of stone - at the same site.

“I am totally opposed to the proposed new structure. Besides, I would like to know the cost of the new memorial,” Kaul said.

The unfinished National Police Memorial - four 150-foot-high columns with a globe in the centre - built at a cost of Rs.130 million (Rs. 13 crores), was dismantled last month.

This followed a Delhi High Court order more than a year ago after architects and civil society groups complained it was aesthetically displeasing and blocked the view of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace, from Shantipath - the four km long boulevard that cuts through the diplomatic enclave.

The then deputy prime minister and home minister, L.K. Advani, laid its foundation in December 2002.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi had in March 2007 said: “The broad parameters of the new police memorial structure will be finalised by the Central Public Works Department, the home ministry and the Intelligence Bureau within three months and placed before a group of ministers. The new structure should be ready within the next 18 months.”

There are reports that the home ministry has zeroed in on a new site for the memorial at the campus of the paramilitary Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) at Ghitorni in southwest Delhi.

“I have no information about this. If it is moved to Ghitorni, then it won’t be a police memorial but an SSB memorial,” Kaul maintained.

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