iconimg Sunday, August 30, 2015

Nikhil M Ghanekar, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 29, 2013
Despite the absence of the project report for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial, the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) and National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have started assessing the possible environment impact of the project to meet the May 2014 deadline.

A special committee chaired by Mumbai’s guardian minister Jayant Patil formed to implement the project had asked the NIO and NEERI to expedite the assessment study.

A detailed project report, according to the NIO scientists, will help the assessment studies as it will include details of the construction, design, structural specifics and potential plans of dredging and reclamation.

The plan is to build a 312-feet long equestrian statue of Shivaji on a 15.96-hectare rocky outcrop near Raj Bhavan.

The NIO is in- charge of studying the marine ecology around the site and its impact on tidal patterns and currents.

“We have started collecti ng historical data on the tidal patterns. We have to see the potential impact of the project on costal sedimentation, coastal erosion, fishing, marine flora and fauna,” said Shankar Gabhiye, chief scientist, NIO.

The NEERI will study the impact of the project on the terrestrial and shoreline environment.

“We are collecting data on air and water quality near the shore. Based on the projections provided by the state government, we will analyse the impact that tourism could have on the environment,” said Anjali Srivastava, chief scientist, NEERI.

The public works department, the nodal agency for the implementation of the project, has approached architecture and design firms in the country and abroad, seeking concept plans for the offshore memorial, which will be 7ft taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York.

“We are yet to float an expression of interest and are seeking concept plans from firms,” said Vishwanath Satpute, executive engineer, public works department.

The memorial was given an in-principle approval by union environment and forests minister Jayanthi Natarajan on June 21.