The environment minister will tweak rules to allow construction of memorials along coastal areas, a move aimed to ensure Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of a Shivaji statue off the Mumbai coast becomes a reality.
The last Congress government in Maharashtra proposed to build the statue at a cost of Rs 100 crore, but it failed to get environmental clearance because the 2011 coastal zone guidelines prohibited any construction along the country’s vast coastline.
The environment ministry has issued a draft notification to ease the regulations to allow construction of memorials and monuments along the coastline or on reclaimed coastal land.
The proposal came after Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis raised the issue with environment minister Prakash Javadekar, who reportedly assured him that the issue would be sorted out.
The move will also ease pressure on the Gujarat government to allow construction of the world’s tallest statute of Sardar Patel, called the Statue of Unity on the Narmada river. Environmentalists oppose the proposal, saying it will have an adverse impact on the river’s already fragile ecology.
The environment ministry has issued a draft notification to amend 2011 CRZ regulations to allow the state government to reclaim land for building monuments and memorials on an “exceptional basis”.
The Coastal Zone Regulation of 2011 prohibits any construction activity in the sea or along the coastline, except for defence purposes and modernisation of existing infrastructure. The proposed amendment prescribes the procedure for obtaining terms of reference (TOR) for conducting an environment impact assessment (EIA) from the ministry.
Once the TOR is obtained, the state government will have to submit an environment management and a risk management plan to the state pollution control board to conduct a public hearing about the project. Once this is done, the project will have to be recommended to the ministry for approval.