COIMBATORE: Calls have begun to rise to name Kattery Horticulture Park near Coonoor after General Bipin Rawat, the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) who died in a chopper crash here on December 8. It will be a fitting tribute to the General and the other defence officers who lost their lives in the crash, local outfits have suggested.
“Nilgiris is a popular tourist spot in the country, and the park is located near Coonoor on Mettupalayam-Ooty National Highway. Naming Kattery Park, spread across five acres, as General Bipin Rawat memorial park will give the visitors an opportunity to remember the services of the army veteran and other defence officers,” appealed K Natarajan, founder of Heritage Steam Chariot Trust.
Welcoming the call, T A Jabarathinam, Citizens Forum of Coonoor, said the people in the country were in an emotional state over the chopper crash incident and renaming the park would make them proud.He claimed that the State government had not given any defence officer’s name to tourist places and projects across Nilgiris over several decades. “For instance, Field Marshal Manekshaw, who led the Indian armed forces to a decisive victory in the 1971 India-Pakistan War, lived and died in Coonoor. Only Wellington Cantonment Board, not the government, installed a statue at the entrance of Manekshew Bridge. We hope the army will soon name a place in Nilgiris after General Bipin Rawat to honour him.
Natarajan also demanded the statues of Rawat and other defence officers killed in the crash be installed in Kattery Park, which is a few kilometres away from Nanjappanchathiram where the crash occurred. Sources in Nilgiris Horticulture department said they had already requested Horticulture Commissioner R Brindha Devi to take the proposal to the State government for consideration.
Collector SP Amrith said he had not received any letter so far demanding to name the park after CDS General Bipin Rawat from any forum or association in the district. When contacted, Agriculture Secretary C Samayamoorthy refused to comment saying it was a matter of the government’s police decision. Agriculture Minister MRK Panneerselvam was not available for response.