Kanpur: The state-run Coal India Limited will make its second attempt to buy the house of Mahatma Gandhi in Johannesburg, where he had lived for over a year, with the desire to build a memorial there.
The PSU had made its first attempt to buy the house of the Father of the Nation in August 2009 when some officials learnt that it was up for sale. But the owner of the property had decided to sell it to someone else.
However, the house could not be sold as it was not registered then.
Union Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told PTI that he will be going to South Africa in this connection on January 4.
"The owner of the house has expressed her willingness to talk to us regarding our proposal to buy Gandhiji's house and build a memorial there. I will leave for official work in Mozambique and South Africa on January 4 and will talk to her during my visit to Johannesburg. Hopefully, we should be able to buy the house this time," Jaiswal said.
Officers and other employees of the 'navratna' company have volunteered to contribute a day's salary each in order to collect money to buy the Gandhi memorabilia and preserve it, he said.
Mahatma Gandhi, who went to South Africa in 1893 to handle a legal case in Pretoria, moved to Johannesburg in 1903. After living in rooms behind his office on Rissik Street for some time, he moved into his partner Henry Pollak's 34 Grove Road house, which still stands.
The Coal Ministry wants to turn the house - of jolly yellow colour with a green roof and a bignonia and plumbago hedge, into a Gandhi Memorial.