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Maharashtra govt has spent ₹15 crore on Shivaji memorial in Mumbai, even before work begins

Of this Rs5.5 crore was spent last December on bhoomipujan done by PM Narendra Modi; lowest bidder has quoted Rs 3,826 cr for construction

mumbai Updated: Nov 27, 2017 16:36 IST
Faisal Malik
Faisal Malik
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,maharashtra,Shivaji Memorial
An artist’s impression of the Shivaji memorial.(HT FILE)

The Maharashtra government has already spent Rs15 crore on its ambitious plan to construct a grand memorial for Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, an RTI query has revealed. The project is yet to take off.

Of this, the BJP-led Maharashtra government spent around Rs5.5 crore for its bhoomipujan (laying the foundation stone) at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, held in December 2016. The state incurred these steep expenses despite the fact that it was reeling under financial stress.

The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), in its response to RTI activist Anil Galgali’s query, said the state government appointed ND Art World Pvt. Ltd., owned by art director Nitin Desai, to make preparations for the ceremony. For this, the MMRDA was asked to pay Rs3 crore as advance in two installments to ND Art World by the public works department (PWD). Later, it paid another Rs 2.54 crore to PWD as remaining expenses for the programme. The event cost the state exchequer a total of Rs 5.54 crore, the documents revealed.

The two-day event saw much fanfare, including a procession in the city on the first day. Ministers from the state were seen leading the procession carrying cauldrons full of water, soil, and stones collected from Shivaji’s forts across districts of the state on specially designed trucks. The materials were used for the bhoomipujan held the next day and performed by Modi, ahead of the crucial Mumbai civic body elections.

Apart from this, the government has paid around Rs10 crore to EGIS India Construction for preparing a detailed project report that includes procuring various permissions from government departments.

The lowest bidder — Larsen and Toubro (L&T) — has quoted Rs 3,826 crore for completing the project.

The cash-strapped state has a debt of Rs4.13 lakh crore, the highest in the country, which could spiral up to Rs4.4 lakh crore. The state’s financial stability has been further affected after Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis announced the Rs34,022 crore farm loan waiver scheme. The finance department is already considering a cut of 25% on development spending across departments to reduce the financial burden.

Meanwhile, the project has received no objection certificates (NOC) from 12 government departments, including the Indian Navy (Western Command), Mumbai Port Trust, Maharashtra Maritime Board, Bombay Natural History Society, state fisheries department, coast guard, Mumbai police, ministry of environment and forest, National Security Guard, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, BEST and Aviation Authority of India, the RTI response said.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 23:12 IST