After a series of flip-flops, the state government has taken a step forward in the plan to build a grand marine memorial to Shivaji and has identified an 18-acre rock in the Arabian sea for the memorial.
The rock is located 4.5km off Marine drive, between Navy Nagar and Raj Bhavan in Malabar Hill, said guardian minister Jayant Patil on Monday. A committee headed by Patil, formed last month to revisit the proposal for the memorial, identified the location.
“Building the memorial on a rock will save us the cost of reclaiming the land for the 9-acre structure. We have taken geo samples for establishing the rock’s strength and have commissioned a report on the oceanography of the surrounding sea,” said Patil, adding that the two reports were expected by January 10.”
Though the state had mooted the plan for the Rs. 350-crore memorial to the Maratha warrior before the 2004 Assembly elections, the proposal was put on the back burner in the light of environmental concerns.
Last month, there were attempts within the government to shift the memorial to an off-shore site in Worli, but chief minister Prithviraj Chavan later announced that the state would rethink the feasibility of the marine memorial. Political compulsions in view of clearance given to build the Ambedkar memorial on the Indu Mills landalso reportedly prompted Chavan to insist that the Shivaji memorial would be built in the sea.
“We will be able to take a final call on the site by January 17 and then seek permission from authorities concerned,” said Patil.