As homage to President Kalam, the DRDO conceived and designed a memorial and the same has now finally come up at the burial site in Rameswaram. The memorial has a plinth area of 1425 SQM and the garden around is spread over 2. 11 acres. The main entrance has giant ‘Chettinad wooden’ doors designed on the lines of India gate and the main dome of the structure is on the lines of Rashtrapati Bhavan.
There are display halls at the four corners of the memorial hall, depicting Kalam’s stay in Rashtrapati Bhavan, his address in the UN Assembly, his association with ISRO and DRDO and his last lecture at the Indian Institute of Management, Shillong, where he had collapsed and died.
There are also four courtyards with shrubs, bushes and trees, providing greenery. The Shekhawati paintings have added grandeur to the double height connecting corridors, whereas the four pergola sculpture gardens and architectural stone pillars have added beauty. At the outer arena of the memorial stands a grand replica Agni, the intercontinental range ballistic missile designed by Kalam the missile man.
The DRDO, where Mr Kalam spent the best days of his life most of his career took up the task of building the memorial. The total cost has come to Rs 20 crore and has been nearly completed in record time if nine months. Bhoomi puja’ had been conducted on the occasion of Kalam’s 85th birth anniversary on October 15, 2016. This was couple of months after the then Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had laid the foundation stone on Kalam’s first death anniversary on July 27, 2016.
The burial site of the Late President at Pei Karumbu has been full of activity since last couple of weeks as more than 300 workers sweat it out round the clock giving finishing touches to the imposing memorial structure, set for opening on Kalam’s second death anniversary on July 27.
The exact burial ground, where the mortal remains of Mr Kalam were laid to rest had a half dome structure. A life size bronze statue of the President was installed in front of the dome last year, has now been shifted behind. People who paid tributes at the burial site could see the statue through the glass panes.
Men and women are busy polishing granite floor, planting ornamental plants, fixing lights, painting, connecting wires and filling earth as officers of civil works and estate, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) were busy supervising the works.
“Countdown 14 days” read a board inside the memorial on Wednesday as the workers raced against time to complete the works. “We have completed more than 95% of work and the memorial will be ready in time,” Mr Singh told The Hindu. He was camping here with his colleagues Col B Choubey, chief construction engineer (CCE) and B K Singh, additional CCE.