Kejriwal govt offers help to set up Kalam Centre in Delhi
The move comes barely a month after the Centre rejected the request from Dr Kalam's family and well-wishers to set up a Knowledge Centre in New Delhi.
Confirming this development to OneIndia, APJMJ Sheik Saleem, grandnephew of Dr Kalam and a member of Bharatiya Janata Party, said that talks were on with the representatives of Arvind Kejriwal government.
"The Delhi government came forward. The family is keen to have a centre in Delhi in addition to the memorial that's coming up in Rameswaram. We knocked at all doors, but the response was negative. Finally, we accepted the government decision and decided to focus on various missions of Dr Kalam through Dr APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation," Saleem told OneIndia, ahead of his foreign trip.
While the family was keen to covert Dr Kalam's official residence at No 10, Rajaji Marg into a ‘Centre for Knowledge,' they couldn't convince the government owing to the existing housing rules in Delhi. Instead, the house was allotted to Union Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma, inviting criticism from many.
Family wants to propel Vision 2020 movement through youth
The AAP's move is seen as a smart one - a) to take on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and team who rejected the family's request and b) to win over the hearts of millions of followers of Dr Kalam.
Saleem said that the office of Kapil Mishra, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Language, in the Kejriwal government, has been in constant touch with the family in the last one month.
"We have to identify the right place now and that's a challenge. Our idea is to help the students and youth to carry forward the Vision 2020 of Dr Kalam," Saleem said.
Almost half of the items that came from Dr Kalam's Rajaji Marg residence will now be shipped back to Delhi once the centre takes shape.
"We have identified what needs to be kept at the Kalam Memorial at Peikarumbu (his burial place in Rameswaram). Students should benefit from whatever Dr Kalam owned," Saleem said.
He said in accordance with Dr Kalam's wish, the family is planning to celebrate Children's Day in a unique manner.
"We are announcing some plans for children and youth on November 14. It will be in line with what Dr Kalam envisioned. Our Foundation will officially announce it on Saturday," he said.
In a related development, the man who served Dr Kalam longest in his team, is still awaiting a posting. Sources told OneIndia that his repeated request for a matching posting was turned down by Union ministers and government officials.
"He is now put on ‘under posting category,' which is the normal practice. He deserves a decent posting matching his previous tenure. If the government wants, he can be accommodated in any top office, valuing his contributions. But the truth is Kalam has become a non-issue for the government now," an official with the Ministry of Defence said.