"The Government of India has taken a view to make available this land for use to the Government of Maharashtra for the construction of a befitting memorial," Textiles Minister Anand Sharma said in identical statements in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha today.
Mayawati's Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) had added to pressure on govt on Wednesday by stalling proceedings in Parliament over the issues of construction of a memorial for Bhimrao Ambedkar and quota in promotion for SC/ST in government jobs.
The ashes of Babasaheb Ambedkar are interred at Chaitya Bhoomi, situated in the vicinity of the 12.5 acre land of India United Mill, popularly known as Indu Mill, under the National Textile Corporation at Prabhadevi in central Mumbai.
"The government has initiated the process to give effect to this decision and I will be shortly be moving the necessary legislative proposal for Parliamentary approval. I seek the support and endorsement of the House," Sharma said.
Dalit outfits had set December 6, Ambedkar's death anniversary, as the deadline for the state to decide on the issue, failing which they threatened to forcibly occupy the mill premises.
Sharma said the decision was taken respecting public sentiments and in response to the request of the Maharashtra government and taking note of the unanimous resolution passed by both Houses of Maharashtra Legislature.
Sharma hailed Ambedkar as one of India's "tallest" leaders and acknowledged his contribution in guiding the process of framing the Constitution.
A delegation of MPs from Maharashtra, led by Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday to press for transfer of the land.
Maharashtra government had proposed a grand memorial near Chaityabhoomi, Babasaheb Ambedkar's final resting place in Dadar in Central Mumbai a few years ago.
Reacting to Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma's statement on the issue in Lok Sabha today, Athawale thanked the Centre and said, "The long pending demand of lakhs of followers of Ambedkar has been fulfilled."
The state government should now help expedite the process of actual transfer of the land, by April 14, a party spokesperson said, quoting Athawale.
Scores of Ambedkar followers are expected to gather here tomorrow, the death anniversary of the architect of the Constitution.
Earlier, Athawale had threatened to forcibly take over land at the defunct Mill, located near the Shivaji Park in central Mumbai, if the Centre did not announce handing over the mill land for construction of the memorial.
The agitation has been called off following today's announcement in Lok Sabha, RPI said.
Govt transfers land for Ambedkar memorial,Mayawati unimpressed
Government today transferred a piece of prime land in Mumbai for a memorial to B R Ambedkar ahead of the crucial vote on FDI in Parliament but BSP Chief Mayawati appeared unimpressed seeking at least 30-40 acres of land for the purpose.
"If the government allocates 12-13 acres of land for it, it would not be sufficient for the memorial. For such a grand memorial for Ambedkar, at least 30-40 acres of land would be required. In 12-13 acres, no grand memorial can be built," she told reporters outside Parliament House.
"We will not accept if the government makes a memorial for Ambedkar in 12-13 acres of land. He will have to be given his due respect as he is the father of our Constitution," she said.
Earlier, the government announced in both Houses of Parliament transfer of prime Indu Mill land in Mumbai to Maharashtra government for constructing a memorial to Amedkar, meeting a long pending demand of several political parties in the state.
Reports had it that the total land of the now defunct Indu mill was of 12.5 acres.
Mayawati raised the issue in a big way in Rajya Sabha. Even though Chairman Hamid Ansari said a statement by the government is listed in the agenda and the announcement will be made at noon, she insisted that the Question Hour be suspended and the statement be made forthwith leading to the adjournament of the House.
When the House reassembled and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla announced the decision to transfer land, Mayawati asked the details of the memorial plan seeking to know how much money would be spent on it and how much land would be allocated for the purpose.