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Ambedkar site

Mumbai, Dec. 5: The Centre today cleared a public sector company’s land for a memorial to Babasaheb Ambedkar on the eve of his 56th death anniversary.

The 12.5 acres belonging to a defunct mill of the National Textile Corporation in Mumbai will be transferred to the Maharashtra government. The India United Mill, also known as Indu Mills, is located close to Chaityabhoomi where Ambedkar was cremated on December 6, 1956.

The decision was announced in both Houses of Parliament this afternoon. “Respecting public sentiments and taking note of the unanimous resolution passed by both Houses of the Maharashtra legislature, the Government of India has taken a view to make available this land for a befitting memorial,” Union textiles minister Anand Sharma said in the Lok Sabha.

Junior parliamentary affairs minister Rajiv Shukla made a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha.

Dalit leaders thanked the UPA for the “historic” decision. Among them was Anandraj, Ambedkar’s grandson and Republican Sena leader. “This is a victory of Ambedkarites,” he said.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, who camped in Delhi for the past two days to push for the formal clearance before the anniversary tomorrow, thanked Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi and Sharma. Chavan promised state funds for the memorial and said it would be similar to Mahatma Gandhi’s at Rajghat.