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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shastri Memorial may Become a Memory Soon

Nov 29 2014 : The Economic Times (Kolkata)
Shastri Memorial may Become a Memory Soon
New Delhi

With fund lifeline cut off, former prime minister's memorial may die a slow death
For a historical figure being constantly appropriated by various political parties, there seems to be little financial support for keeping former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's memory alive.Faced with an acute shortage of funds, the memorial to him that was established at the behest of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government is finding it difficult to make ends meet and is in danger of having to be wound up.
Located adjacent to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's residence, the memorial that's run by a trust won't receive financial help from the culture ministry from this year following a decision taken by the UPA-II government. The trust's financial woes have been compounded by a cabinet decision taken by the current NDA government to stop financing birth and death anniversary celebrations of all national lead ers except Mahatma Gandhi.Union ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Ananth Kumar are among the current members of the trust while Vajpayee is the founder trustee.
According to the late PM's son and Congress leader Anil Shastri, the trust's resources are fast depleting. "Like Shastriji, the trust's corpus is very modest. We had ` . 42 lakh which has now been reduced to ` . 35 lakh since the ministry of culture has decided to not give us annual grants for running and maintaining the memorial.We have also encashed a fixed deposit of ` . 5 lakh recently ," Shastri, who is also the holding trustee, told ET.
He said he's written four letters to Prime Minister Modi since August urging him to reconsider the cabinet decision and direct the culture ministry to start disbursing funds again. If no help is forthcoming, the trust will have little option but to close down the memorial, he said. "The PM took Shastriji's name thrice from the ramparts of the Red Fort. I wrote my first letter to him on August 20 thinking he holds Shastriji in high regard. None of my four letters has even been acknowledged by Modiji. If we keep spending money at this rate, we'll soon have to raise money outside and if we can't manage enough, we'll close it and hand over the keys to the culture ministry ," he said.

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