After months of uncertainty over the location of late Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s memorial, the civic body has cleared the decks for one at Shivaji Park in Dadar, which has been the traditional venue for the party’s Dusshera rallies, and where his funeral was held.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has given its nod for a landscaped memorial at the same spot where the makeshift one stands.
The Sena now plans to weigh in on the civic administration to ensure the memorial is ready by November 17, Thackeray’s first death anniversary.
Sena leaders, however, insist they are not abandoning their ambitious plan for a bigger, grander memorial for Thackeray.
According to senior civic officials, while the civic body was all set to float tenders, a recent circular by the BMC chief on changes in heritage properties threatens to throw Sena’s plans out of gear.
The proposal will now have to be tabled before the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee for approval. Civic officials are confident of obtaining the nod, just as they managed to get the environmental clearance for the memorial.
A senior civic official said: “All the administrative approvals have been granted. However, the heritage nod still remains. Since we are not undertaking any civil works [use of sand, cement, steel, bricks etc], getting an approval from the heritage committee should not be a problem.”
According to the plan, the memorial will occupy the same area as the existing one — 800 square feet. The plan, a copy of which is with Hindustan Times, envisages a Champa tree on a plinth, under which a drift-wood plaque with a famous outline sketch of Thackeray will be displayed. In keeping with the conditions imposed by the environmental body, the memorial will have very little civil work and will emphasise more on landscaping and greenery.
The memorial, costing around Rs10 lakh, will be funded with the taxpayers’ money. Standing Bharat Scaout Bengal Club committee chairperson Rahul Shewale said, “The BMC carries out such beautification works for all major political leaders who have been significant in the country’s history.”
BMC said the memorial may be ready in two to three months.