PM Modi inaugurates Kalam Memorial in Rameswaram

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Rs15-crore memorial for late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, at his hometown Rameswaram. He unveiled a statue of Dr Kalam and offered floral tributes at Kalam Sthal. The prime minister also briefly interacted with the family members of Dr Kalam.

Modi, who arrived at Peykarambu in Rameswaram, also unveiled a bronze statue of Dr Kalam, which was installed in the memorial building.

The prime minister also paid floral tribute to Dr Kalam's memorial, which was constructed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The interiors of the memorial reflect the various facets of Dr Kalam's life, including the Pokhran nuclear test. There's even a missile model celebrating his contribution to space science.

A model of Agni-II missile, which weighs four-tonne and is 45-feet in height, has been set up in Dr Kalam's memorial where the former President was laid to rest this day two years ago.

The memorial, built at a cost of Rs20 crore, blends Mughal and Indian architecture. Its main entrance resembles Delhi's India gate. The dome reflects the Rashtrapati Bhavan. The main door is a replica of the entrance of the Brihadiswara Temple in Thanjavur.

PK Gupta, director of the construction firm that built the memorial, said, "This is so special for us. The yellow stones have come from closer to Pakistan. Sand, water and other materials have come from all over India. It's a symbol of national integration."

After interacting with Dr Kalam's relatives, Modi also flagged 'Kalam 2020 Science Vehicle', a digital-based mobile museum, which was made by Dr A P J Abdul Kalam International Foundation.

The vehicle will showcase missile man's scientific achievements during his school days and while at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) and DRDO.

Rare photos of Agni Missile and Pokhran-II nuclear bomb test will also be displayed in the vehicle.

Sources from Kalam's foundation said the vehicle will travel across the country and will reach the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on 15 October, the birthday of Dr Kalam.

At a large public meeting, the prime minister also distributed sanction letters to select beneficiaries of Long Line Trawlers under the Blue Revolution Scheme.

He flagged off a new express train from Rameswaram to Ayodhya - named Shraddha Setu - via video conference. He released the synopsis of the Green Rameswaram Project; and unveiled a plaque to mark the dedication to the nation of a 9.5 km link road on NH-87, between Mukundarayar Chathiram, and Arichalmunai.

Addressing the gathering, the prime minister said Rameswaram has been a beacon of spirituality for the entire nation; and is now also known as the place closely associated with Dr Kalam. He said Dr Kalam reflected the simplicity, depth and calmness of Rameswaram.

The memorial for Dr Kalam showcases his life and times in a remarkable manner, the prime minister said.

Paying rich tributes to Dr J Jayalalithaa, former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, the prime minister said she is a leader whom we will all remember. He added that she would have been very happy and would have extended her good wishes.

The prime minister said a transformation in the ports and logistics sectors can contribute immensely to India's growth. He mentioned that there is a healthy competition among states as far as the Swachh Bharat Mission is concerned.

Dr Kalam, he said, inspired the youth of India. Today's youth wants to scale heights of progress, and become job creators, he added.

Dr Kalam, popularly known as the "Missile Man", was the 11th President of India between 2002 and 2007. He died of a cardiac arrest on 27 July 2015 in Shillong where he had gone to deliver a lecture.