After two unsuccessful attempts, the state government has now chosen a 40-acre rock, which comes under the coastal regulatory zone (CRZ)-IV category, in the Arabian Sea to build the 312-ft statue of Shivaji. The proposal is ready to be sent for the in-principle approval of the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).
The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), which has prepared the detailed proposal, feels that as the site comes under CRZ-IV, unlike the earlier one (see box) that was under CRZ-II, getting the environmental clearance would be easier. In the new proposal, the height of the statue has been increased to 312ft, 7ft taller than the Statue of Liberty.
“The equestrian statue would be built on a 15.96-hectare rock and would be supported by 17.67hectares of shallow submarine rock. The spot is at a distance of 3.6km from the H2O jetty, 1.2km from the Raj Bhavan and 2.6km from the Nariman Point. As it is close to an international navigational route, it does not need major reclamation,” said an expert familiar with the plan. The proposal stated that during the high tide the rock is submerged in 4m of water and during the low tide the entire rock remains visible.
The decision to finalise the spot and send the proposal to the MoEF was taken at meetings headed by guardian minister of Mumbai Jayant Patil on February 1 and February 11.
“The next meeting will be held in the last week of February. The plan is to get the chief minister and deputy chief minister to visit the site in the next few days,” said an official from the Mantralaya.
He said that as the old proposal has been scrapped, the new one would have to be approved by the Cabinet. This also means that global competition will be held afresh for the design of the project.
According to the official, Patil wants to build an escalator so that tourists could reach the apex of the statue. “He has said that no jetty would be reclaimed and tourists visiting the memorial would be ferried from the Gateway of India. This would ensure that tourists spend at least half a day in the sea,” he said.
The project is estimated to cost Rs500 crore.