The Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) has sent a proposal to the Union ministry of culture for construction of a three-storey building in Budge Budge to commemorate the contribution of the martyrs of the Komagata Maruin the freedom struggle.
Komagata Maru, a Japanese steamship carrying 376 passengers was not allowed to enter Canada due to immigration laws in 1914. Baba Gurdit Singh, a well-to-do businessman from Singapore had planned the voyage with an aim to challenge the tougher laws in that country.
The ship was forced to return and nineteen people were slain by the British at Budge Budge when they refused to board a train for Punjab. The memorial dedicated to the martyrs was inaugurated by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1952.
The new structure would come up at the back of the existing memorial, nearly two kilometre from the Komagata Maru railway station. A tripartite agreement would soon be signed between the Port Trust, the Union ministry of culture and Komagata Maru Martyrs Memorial Trust regarding the construction of the new building.
“We have already sent a proposal to the Union ministry of culture for the construction of the new memorial on an area of around 2,000 square feet,” said Mr R P S Kahlon, the chairman of KoPT. He said the G+2 building to be built at an estimated cost of Rs.2.4 crore would have an administrative office and a library on the ground floor, a museum on the first floor and an auditorium on the second floor.
“The construction would start soon after the funds are released by the Union ministry,” said Kahlon adding that they plan to complete the work within a year. Jogender Singh Johal, the president of the trust, said they are planning to collect every minute detail in connection with the Komagata Maru incident and place it in the museum. Veteran journalist and recipient of Banga Bhushan award, Bachan Singh Saral said the existing memorial suffers from space crunch and the new structure would help to make the younger generation aware about the contributions of their ancestors.