HYDERABAD: THE decision of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao to organise former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s birth-centenary celebrations across Telangana has brought into sharp focus the long-forgotten proposal to build the tallest 125-ft BR Ambedkar statue at NTR Memorial on Necklace Road. Those waiting for the Telangana government to begin the process of setting up the Ambedkar statue wonder if the Chief Minister has forgotten all about it as he is now keen to celebrate PV’s birth centenary.
The former Prime Minister, who hailed from Vangara in erstwhile Karimnagar district, is considered one of the rare jewels that had adorned Telangana’s crown. A centenary celebrations committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Dr K Keshava Rao, which plans to construct a memorial in Hyderabad on the lines of the one set up in Rameswaram in memory of former President Dr Abdul Kalam, and erect five bronze statues in five cities of the State.
Even as those who share Ambedkar’s ideology wait with their fingers crossed, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), too, is trying to bring to fore the Chief Minister’s promise in the State Legislative Council prior to the 2018 Assembly elections. But the demand for the establishment of the Ambedkar statue appears to be more pertinent now since in 2016 itself, Chandrasekhar Rao had promised to erect the statue of the founding father of the Indian Constitution. For sometime, the work progressed briskly. Kadiam Srihari, who was Deputy Chief Minister then, was made the chairman of the Cabinet-Sub Committee that would execute the project.
The committee in 2017, after visiting China and Sikkim where tall statues were erected, hired Delhi-based company -- Design Studio Associates -- for the preparation of a detailed project report which was presented to the government. The project -- named Smriti Vanam -- was supposed to come up near NTR Memorial on Necklace Road in about 35 acres. It was supposed to have a library with Ambedkar’s books and a research facility for Dalit studies.
“The entire project report is on the Chief Minister’s table. It all depends on when he will take it up,” a reliable source, who did not want to be named, said, and dismissed as baseless the pre-occupation with Covid- 19 as the reason for the delay. “The novel Coronavirus has come now. The proposal has been hanging fire since 2016. All the spade work is completed. The estimated cost of the project is `100 crore,” he said, adding that the project would see the light of day only when the Chief Minister gives the green signal.