OneIndia Special: PM to unveil Dr Kalam’s bust at DRDO HQ on Oct 15
Alappuzha, Oct 13: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil a bust of former President Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) headquarters in New Delhi on October 15.
Sources confirmed to OneIndia on Tuesday that the PM will be accompanied by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu and Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
A series of programmes have been planned across the nation by various government and non-governmental organizations to mark the 84th birth anniversary of Dr Kalam on October 15.
The programme at the DRDO HQ is said to be planned at the last-minute and an official word is yet to be out on the same.
The bust to be unveiled by the PM is made in Hyderabad and it has already reached New Delhi.
The Prime Minister's presence at the DRDO HQ on Dr Kalam's birth centenary is seen as a significant one in the backdrop of criticism in some quarters over the government's ‘go-slow approach' towards the suggestions put-forth by Dr Kalam's associates and friends.
There has been no formal tribute function organized in Delhi so far by the government for the former President.
Even the PMO has not granted an audience to Dr Kalam's family members, despite repeated representations made by them.
DRDO officials say that the family members have accepted their invitation for the October 15 event.
In the meantime, President Pranab Mukherjee gave an audience to the family members last week and promised to take up their ideas to the government.
No monument at No 10, Rajaji Marg residence
Ever since the death of Dr Kalam on July 27, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has received many representations for setting up an institution in memory of Dr Kalam in New Delhi.
Some of the former aides of Dr Kalam and his family members too were keen to have a Knowledge Centre set up at the official residence of the former President situated at No 10, Rajaji Marg in Delhi.
Fearing similar requests from the followers and family members of other prominent figures, the government has so far remained non-committal on all such requests.
"The government has studied all proposals and will spell out his stand soon. The Tamil Nadu government is planning a memorial at Rameshwaram, at his (Dr Kalam's) burial place (Pei Karumbu). The Urban Development Ministry has rejected the proposals to covert his official residence into a museum," a top government official told OneIndia over the phone from Delhi.
The residence will now be vacated before October 31 and Dr Kalam's belongings will be transported to Rameshwaram soon.
Missile Complex all geared up for renaming ceremony
On October 15 evening, Parrikar will fly down to Hyderabad to rename the famed Missile Complex of DRDO after Dr Kalam.
The ‘Dr A P J Abdul Kalam Missile Complex' is a tribute by DRDO to its former boss and India's ‘Missile Man.'
Among the successful programmes of the Missile Complex are, Agni, Prithvi, Akash, BrahMos, Prahaar, Astra and BMD to name few.
The Missile Complex consists of Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI). These three top labs of DRDO contribute extensively in developing India's tactical and strategic missiles and other aerospace technologies.
RCI, formed in August 27 1988, is a brainchild of Dr Kalam.
Hyderabad also houses other DRDO labs including Defence Metallurgical Research Laboratory (DMRL), Defence Electronic Research Laboratory (DLRL) and Anurag. All these three labs, however, don't fall under the direct command of the Missile Complex.
Two new facilities for DRDO to go live
Parrikar is also expected to inaugurate two of the advanced research facilities of RCI on October 15 - one at Vignyana Kancha (near Hyderabad airport) and another at Dundigal.
The facility at Dundigal has been named as ORANGE (Outdoor RCS Test Facility) and the Vignyana Kancha installation will be RCI's ‘Futuristic Research Centre,' likely to be called as Kautalya.
(The writer is a seasoned aerospace and defence journalist in India. He is the Consultant Editor (Defence) with OneIndia and tweets @writetake.)