The work on the proposed 312-feet statue of Shivaji in the Arabian sea is unlikely to take off any time soon. Although the state’s public works department (PWD) has already submitted the concept proposal to the state coastal body, the government will have to carry out at least 10 studies before beginning work on the proposed monument.
The minutes of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) released on Monday confirmed this.
PWD, which is implementing the project, has assured it will conduct studies. These include geo-technical investigations to check structural stability, study of tidal behaviour, environment impact assessment (EIA), marine biodiversity surveys, seismic studies and socio-economic impacts on local fishermen.
The EIA which includes cost benefit analysis, transport impact including terrestrial, air and marine components could take almost a year to complete.
“This is the first time such a project is being implemented. Specialised studies such as anticipated impact on marine biodiversity, changes in hydrodynamics in the area, erosion and seismic studies to find strength of the submerged rock will have to be done carefully and vetted by experts. It is a long process,” said an official.
MCZMA has also asked PWD to include a study on the likely ecological loss due to the project and suggest mitigation measures. The coastal authority has also asked PWD to constitute a multi-disciplinary technical team comprising members from National Institute of Oceanography, Central Water and Power Research Station and fisheries to monitor the work entrusted to the agencies. The coastal authority has also written to the Union environment ministry to suggest further studies for the project.
The government had in 2004 promised this statue in its election manifesto. In 2009, the government worked out the project cost at 350 crores but there were delays in finding a site and preparing a concept proposal. A section in the government feels this project is just a pipe dream.