Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami and deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam on Monday laid the foundation stone for a memorial of late J Jayalalithaa in Chennai, abutting her burial site on the Marina beachfront.
The memorial, modelled on a phoenix, with two lion statues at the entrance and surrounded by landscaped gardens will house the mausoleum of Jayalalithaa.
Beside the memorial, a museum is set to come up and both the structures — as reflected in artistic impressions released by the Tamil Nadu government today — feature state-of-the-art designs, lighting and aesthetics.
Palaniswami placed the first brick for the construction on the ground, and Panneerselvam the second, marking the formal inauguration of work for the memorial at the beach complex.
A ‘yagna’ and special prayers were conducted ahead of the stone-laying event in which Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai, Tamil Nadu Ministers, MPs and MLAs participated along with the chief minister and his deputy.
Earlier this year on March 15, deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam had said that the memorial would be built at a cost of Rs 50 crore.
“As announced earlier, a grand memorial will be built for Amma at a cost of Rs 50.80 crore at Marina,” he had told the Assembly in his budget address.
Presently, Jayalalithaa’s burial site, covered by makeshift sheets within the ‘samadhi’ complex of AIADMK founder and former chief minister M G Raamachandran on the Marina has only her portrait.
A large number of AIADMK workers took part in the event.
The proposed memorial ‘mandapam’ for the late chief minister Jayalalithaa is set to come up behind the memorial of AIADMK founder and former chief minister M G Ramachandran.
Jayalalithaa’s mausoleum was decked up for the event.
Elaborate security arrangements were made for the stone-laying ceremony. Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016.
The stone-laying cerermony comes following the Madras High Court dismissing public interest litigation petitions last month, opposing the construction of a memorial for her.
Petitions against display of her portraits in the state government offices were also dismissed.
The memorial initiative, however, came in for sharp criticism from the opposition parties.
Meanwhile, DMK leader M K Stalin said it was “anti-democratic,” to build a memorial for a person (Jayalalithaa) convicted in the disproportionate assets case.
Echoing a similar view, PMK founder leader S Ramadoss said, constructing memorial for her was tantamount to “crowning graft, and hence the government should give up doing it from the tax payers money”.