New Delhi: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit has opposed a Group of Ministers' recommendation to set up the long-awaited National War Memorial at the India Gate complex, saying it will affect the ambience of the area and restrict people's movement at the popular hangout zone.
In separate letters to Defence Minister AK Antony, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath, she said an alternative site should be found for the memorial.
In August, a GoM headed by Antony had recommended establishment of the National War Memorial at the Princess Park complex near India Gate. A final decision in this regard would be taken by the Union Cabinet. In her letters sent two days ago, Dikshit said India Gate is the only popular hangout place for people of the city and coming up of the memorial there would restrict movement of people in the area due to security reasons, top sources said.
She said setting up of the memorial would also affect the ambience of the area. The armed forces have been demanding a war memorial in the national capital to honour their men who made supreme sacrifice in various wars, conflicts and militancy-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast.
The Defence Ministry has been pushing for construction of the memorial near India Gate which is a memorial for soldiers killed in action during the First World War. In view of the demand of the armed forces, the government had set up the GoM in 2009 which was headed by Pranab Mukherjee before he became the President.
The Urban Development Ministry and the Delhi Urban Art Commission had objected to the memorial, saying it would spoil the ambience at India Gate. Delhi government had conveyed its reservation to the proposal earlier also.