The state government has decided to look at the 16.5-hectare rock islet at the bay of Nariman Point as the primary site for the proposed Shivaji memorial, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan told the legislative Council on Wednesday.
The spot is 1km away from the Raj Bhavan and 2.4km from the western coast along the Girgaum Chowpatty. The project, which was proposed a decade ago, was first mentioned in the joint manifesto of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party alliance in 2004. The plan is to build a 309ft tall statue, 1ft taller than the Statue of Liberty in New York.
“The committee, which was formed under city’s guardian minister Jayant Patil, has identified the site, which will be visible even during the low tide. The site is being tested and weighed, but the final decision will be taken by the cabinet of ministers. We have sent a primary proposal to the Centre, which will be discussed in a meeting with Union environment minister Jayanti Natarajan in the city on April 2,” said Chavan, while replying to a question raised on the status of the project by legislator Jayantrao Jadhav in the question hour.
Chavan said that building the memorial on a rock seems feasible, as it won’t entail reclaiming of land.
According to Chavan, the site will need 22 different clearances and surveys before the final nod from the Central environment body. The tests include seismic zone study, sedimentary study, wind tunnel study and marine diversity among others.
“We will go ahead with the construction work only after the structural stability and environmental safety are ensured,” he said.
The government will, through its tender process, soon appoint a project consultant to assist the government in the appointment of an architect for the project.
Chavan said that while the islet will be accessible to people, it might not be possible to develop it as a tourist spot with gardens and restaurants as it would mean setting up sewage and garbage cleaning facilities that seem difficult. However jetties will be set up at the Girgaum Chowpatty and at the memorial end.