Wednesday 27 February 2013

The story of a memorial rock

Almost all Bangaloreans are aware of the National War Memorial  that is coming up at the Indira Gandhi Park in Central Bangalore. The memorial has been a subject matter of  a prolonged dispute between environmentalists on one hand and the Government and military on the other.
The matter even reached the courts and the project for constructing Bangalore’s first national memorial took off only after the Supreme Court okayed the project.
The project includes the installation of a 87-foot high single stone which will be the centerpiece of the memorial. But did you know that the stone is being mined near Bangalore and that the State Government issued the permit for mining such a huge slab near the reservoir of Tippegondanahalli (TG Halli), near Bangalore.
The single rock at the memorial comprises a 750-ton block of granite and the State Government issued necessary permits to mine this stone at a quarry site near the TG Halli reservoir in 2009.
The stone, 87-foot-high, will be a fitting memorial to those bravehearts who fought in the Kargil War.  The rock is being mined from the quarry of a farmer called Munne Gowda and it is called Veeragallu (The Kannada meaning of a brave heart-Veera means brave and Kallu means stone).
The stone from which the Veeragallu is being carved is not found anywhere else in Karnataka but in Koyira village near TG Halli. This type of rock is locally known as Kajjikayalu.
The State Government records itself show that this type of  rock is not found anywhere except here in Karnataka. It also shows that the BDA was permitted to mine the area near the TG Halli reservoir for extracting the stone.
Do you know the cost for quarrying, extracting, transporting and installing the rock at the memorial site. It is Rs.28,408,903. And what are the consequences of transporting a huge boulder of this size.
The Government itself says it would be required to demolish some bridges and buildings to ensure smooth movement of the vehicle carrying such a statue from TG Halli to central Bangalore. The cost?  Your guess is as good as mine.
When completed, the rock will be 75 feet in height and it will weigh about 700 tons. As many as 20 sculptors are giving it finishing touches. The memorial will also have the tallest flag mast in India at 65 metres (around 213 feet). The flag mast will adorn the country's largest national flag measuring 48 x 78 feet.

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