A charity trust to raise about one million pounds for the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, to be installed at Parliament Square here next year, has been established by eminent NRI economist Meghnad Desai. The Gandhi Statue Memorial Trust has been registered with the UK's Charity Commission and will go live by next week for people to contribute funds. An estimated amount of 1 million pounds is required for the statue. "We want as many people to contribute whatever little they can from any where in the world. This is a people's statue," said Desai at an event organised by the Asian Business Association of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry here Tuesday evening.
"There have been lots of offers to fund the statue but I don't want it to be done exclusively by any billionaire. We are not here to play with this. It should be everybody's property," the London-based academician and author added. Plans for a Gandhi statue for Parliament Square alongside those of Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela had been announced earlier this month during the visit of former UK foreign secretary William Hague and Chancellor George Osborne to India.
Desai also said that the plans are to unveil the new statue of the Father of the Nation on Martyrs' Day - January 30, 2015 - "hopefully by [Indian PM] Narendra Modi". The post-budget analysis event also marked the renewal of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the visiting Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation. "I believe we are at a crossroads of this [India-UK] relationship and am determined to make this partnership work," said Priti Patel, British PM David Cameron's Indian Diaspora champion who was recently also promoted to the Treasury department.