Two months after a grand foundation-stone laying ceremony for a mid-sea Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial, three companies have put in their bids and formally entered the race to build the showpiece politically-significant project.
The BJP-led Maharashtra government has received bids from Larsen & Toubro, Reliance Infrastructure and Afcons Infrastructure to design and build the grand memorial, which involves erecting the world’s tallest statue, in the Arabian Sea. The last date to submit bids was February 22.
A senior official from the state public works department said, “We are currently examining the technical aspects of the bids and will take another ten days to wrap it up. With the project being a complex one, the submissions of the three companies run into thousands of pages and had to be brought to the project office in tempos. Once we are through examining the technical features, we will look into the financial quotations by the three firms.”
According to the state government’s estimates, the project is likely to cost about Rs3,600 crore. The final cost will, however, depend on the company that emerges as the most technically qualified for the project and that gives the lowest quote.
The mid-sea Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial involves building the world’s tallest statue, surpassing the height of New York’s Statue of Liberty. Incidentally, Larsen & Toubro, which has bid for the Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial project, has won the contract for the Statue of Unity, a 182 metre-statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel in Gujarat.
The Shivaji statue will be 192m tall, with the height of the actual sculpture of the Maratha warrior king in an equestrian pose being 114.4m and the pedestal on which it stands being 77.6m, accommodating viewing decks, exhibition halls, museums and restaurants. The state government plans to build the memorial in two phases with the first phase estimated to cost Rs 2,500 crore.
Thirteen companies had initially evinced interest in the project by attending the pre-bid meeting. Besides the three firms that ended up putting their bids, companies such as Hindustan Construction Company, Tata Projects and Navayuga Engineering also showed interest in the project.
The project was originally conceived in the 1980s and has been a talking point for all parties in every election ever since. The fast-tracking of the memorial is especially politically significant for the BJP, as it has been grappling with tension within the Maratha community, which considers Shivaji as its icon. Engaged in a political one-upmanship with the Shiv Sena, which derives its name from the Maratha king, the BJP has also been increasingly projecting itself as a party that follows the ideals of the ruler.