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What Maharashtra can do with Rs 3,600 crore if Shivaji statue isn’t built

It could pay for a micro-irrigation programme to bring water to thousands of farmers for over two years; pay for new rural roads seven times over; electricity projects five times over; restore 300 medieval forts in Maharashtra.

india Updated: Nov 08, 2016 11:11 IST
The Maharashtra government has started work on the world’s tallest statue of medieval Maratha monarch Shivaji off Mumbai’s coast.
The Maharashtra government has started work on the world’s tallest statue of medieval Maratha monarch Shivaji off Mumbai’s coast.(Picture courtesy: Team One Architects)

It could pay for a micro-irrigation programme to bring water to thousands of farmers for over two years; pay for new rural roads seven times over; electricity projects five times over; restore 300 medieval forts in Maharashtra.

But the Maharashtra government -- on October 26, 2016 -- started work on the world’s tallest statue of medieval Maratha monarch Shivaji off Mumbai’s coast and intends to spend Rs 3,600 crore on it at current estimates. Since it was first conceived 12 years ago, the budget for Shivaji’s statue has risen 35 times.

The state government bypassed legal procedure by getting an exemption from the Union Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change in 2015 from conducting public hearings on the statue’s construction, which local fishermen say will affect their fishing grounds and the island.

The Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai and the electricity utility BEST recently expressed their inability to lay underwater cables to the statue site -- some 3.5km out to sea -- citing “lack of expertise”.

Shivaji statue will surpass Patel statue by 8 metres to be tallest in the world

The idea for the Shivaji statue first emerged in 1980. In 2004, the budget was around Rs 100 crore, which jumped to Rs 700 crore in 2009, Rs 1,400 crore in 2013 and Rs 3,600 crore in 2016.

The Rs 3,600 crore to be spent on the statue will be equivalent to:

The statue will be the world’s tallest at 190 metres, 8 metres taller than Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’, now under construction in Gujarat and slated for completion in 2018.

Currently, the Veera Abhaya Anjaneya Hanuman Swami in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, is the tallest statue (41 meters) in India, IndiaSpend reported in November 2015.