Fishermen oppose taller Shivaji memorial off Mumbai coast

It will block route taken by boats and affect marine life in the surrounding sea, said fishermen, who plan to file an appeal in the National Green Tribunal against the increase in height.

mumbai Updated: Jul 18, 2018 12:17 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Fishermen,Shivaji memorial
The state has said that the environment ministry has allowed the height of the statue to be increased from 192 metres to 210 metres.(Representational image)

Fishermen from Mumbai said they will file an appeal in the National Green Tribunal (NGT) opposing the plans by the state to increase the height and other structural modifications of the proposed Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea.

During a hearing at NGT on Tuesday, the state submitted an affidavit stating the Union environment ministry had amended its environment clearance (EC) for the project by allowing the height of the equestrian statue to be increased from 192 metres to 210 metres.

Earlier, the fishermen had filed an application that residents of five villages from Cuffe Parade, Machimar Nagar, Nariman Point, Geeta Nagar (near Navy Nagar), near Raj Bhawan and Backbay — who have 1,500 large boats and 450 small boats — will be affected by the project.

They said the memorial will block the route taken by the boats and affect marine life in the surrounding sea.

HT had reported on June 23 that a revised plan for the memorial, increasing the height among other modifications, had received environment and coastal zone regulation (CRZ) clearances from the environment ministry. The state has also submitted a fresh proposal for a third amendment to the EC to increase the height of the statue (to 212 metres) to the Union environment ministry.

As a last resort to challenge the state’s proposal, the applicants —Akhil Maharashtra Machimar Kruti Samiti led by Damodar Tandel — were directed by the NGT bench of Justice SP Wangdi and expert member Dr Nagin Nanda to file an amended appeal to their application challenging all the ECs and highlighting that no public consultation had been carried out before the project was sanctioned.

“The state wants to increase the height of the statue and the environment ministry has given its consent and amended EC issued by them in 2015. In view of the recent amendments, the situation has changed and we sought permission from the court to amend our appeal,” said Asim Sarode, counsel representing the applicants. “The appeal will now be filed with fresh allegations, including new circumstances such as changes to the height and specifications of the statue.”

Sarode said copies of amended appeal will be sent to all respondents within a week. The next hearing is on August 27.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 12:15 IST