Maharashtra’s plan to build a statue of the Maratha warrior king Shivaji in the Arabian Sea has got a boost from the Centre, which has issued a notification to amend the Coastal Regulatory Zone notification 2011. The amendment will allow reclamation in restricted coastal areas and in the sea.
The memorial is expected to cost Rs 1,400 crore and will be built on a 15.96-hectare rocky outcrop in the Arabian Sea, 2.6km from Nariman Point. It falls in the restricted CRZ-I (ecologically sensitive, close to the coast) and CRZ-IV areas (upto 12 nautical miles into the sea).
The notification, dated December 11, 2014, was on Wednesday put in the public domain by the Union environment ministry, inviting suggestions and objections. The amendment has allowed “reclamation for construction of memorials/ monuments and allied facilities, only in exceptional cases, by the state government concerned, on a case to case basis”. The project got Union environment minister Prakash Javdekar’s nod in December last year.
The Shivaji memorial was first promised by the Congress-NCP government in 2004. In July 2013, with the Lok Sabha polls in view, then environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan gave it an in-principle nod.
According to the amendment, for any construction in the CRZIV area, the state government must submit a justification for locating the project in the zone.
It will also have to give the state coastal body details of alternate sites that were considered and a weightage matrix on various parameters. These measures are to ensure adequate environment safeguards. The state will also have to submit a detailed Environment Impact Assessment report, with an environment management plan, a risk assessment report and a disaster management plan. Before the project takes off, a public hearing needs to be conducted.
The amendment says the proposal has to be put up before the state coastal body once again, then before the MoEF, before the terms of reference for the various studies get finalised. The state is keen on developing the memorial as a tourist hub.
The public works department’s initial report included three levels of pedestals, including an amphitheatre, a museum, restaurants, garden and an aquarium, besides other facilities. It was proposed that two jetties from the mainland – one at Gateway of India and one at Nariman Point that is being developed by the state for inland water transport, be used to take commuters to the island.