The ‘Phoenix’ memorial constructed for late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is set to be inaugurated by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Wednesday. The State government’s inauguration of the memorial coincides with the release of her aide VK Sasikala.
Following the death of Jayalalithaa in December 2016, the State government issued a Government Order (GO) in 2017, allotting Rs 50 crore for the memorial. However, in 2020, the government allotted a further Rs 30 crore to complete the memorial before the State assembly election. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the construction was delayed and so the Tamil Nadu government, in December last year, appointed a committee headed by a retired PWD Engineer to expedite the construction work. Initially, the government had decided to inaugurate the memorial on the birth anniversary of Jayalalithaa, on February 24, and had planned on Prime Minister Narendra Modi doing the honours.
The memorial, shaped like a Phoenix with lions standing guard on either side, has been under construction for almost three years. Besides the structure, a statue of Jayalalithaa and MGR along with an artificial waterfall have also been built for visitors at the entrance to the memorial.
The foundation stone of the project was laid in 2018 and it was expected to be completed within a year. The DMK, the PMK and others had opposed the memorial, claiming that the late CM was a convict.
Veda Nilayam, the residence of Jayalalithaa in Poes Garden, which has also been converted into a memorial, will be inaugurated on January 28. The government had allotted Rs 67 crore towards conversion of the memorial, despite a case pending in the Madras High Court on the issue of ownership of the house.