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Cabinet nod to hand over part of Mumbai mill land for Dr Ambedkar memorial

The way has been cleared for a magnificent memorial to Dr B R Ambedkar with government today clearing a proposal to hand over a part of now-defunct Indu Mills land in Mumbai to Maharashtra government for the purpose.

The Union Cabinet okayed a bill for the purpose today, nearly a year after the government had announced its move to give a portion of the land to the state government to set up the memorial, sources said.

"The Government of India has taken a view to make available this land for use by the Government of Maharashtra for the construction of a befitting memorial," the then Textiles Minister Anand Sharma had told both Houses of Parliament in December last year.

An earlier move to hand over the land through an executive order was learnt to have been shelved and now The Acquisition of Certain Area in Mumbai for Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Memorial Bill, 2013 is likely to be introduced in Parliament in the winter session beginning on December 5.

The legislation is aimed at empowering the central government to acquire a portion of the land belonging to the National Textile Corporation Limited (NTCL) for facilitation of the construction of a memorial for Ambedkar. Over 48,000 square metres of land will be acquired for the purpose.

According to the cabinet note, NTCL will be paid Rs 45.77 crore for the land.

Parties in Maharashtra welcomed the Union Cabinet's decision today to transfer land originally owned by Indu Mills to the Maharashtra government to construct a memorial to Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar, the father of the Indian Constitution and noted Dalit leader.

"Our party welcomes the decision. We have decided to call off the proposed rail and road blockade stir tomorrow as our demand has been met. However, if the state government does not perform bhoomi pujan at the spot by December 6, we will go ahead with our agitation," Republican Party of India (Athawale) leader Ramdas Athawale told PTI here today.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief Manikrao Thakre also welcomed the cabinet decision and thanked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the move. 

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