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Maharashtra govt has reduced height of Shivaji statue, it’s an insult: Opposition parties

NCP and Congress say height reduced by 34 metres, call it an ‘insult’ to the Maratha king and a ‘bid to fool people’

mumbai Updated: Mar 08, 2018 15:51 IST
Ketaki Ghoge
Ketaki Ghoge
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,Mumbai news,Maharashtra government
An artist’s impression of the Shivaji memorial

A new controversy unfolded in the state assembly on Wednesday with the Opposition alleging that the state government had reduced the height of the Shivaji statue to be built in the Arabian sea.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress took on the ruling party over the Rs2,500 crore Shivaji memorial, alleging that the government had reduced the height of the bronze statue by 34 meters and increased the height of the cement pedestal. This they said was an insult to the Maratha King and a bid to fool the people.

The issue first raised by NCP senior leader Jayant Patil in the assembly through an adjournment motion turned into a sparring match between former chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and chief minister Devendra Fadnavis later in the day.

“The design prepared by our government had taken utmost care that the statue of Shivaji would be tall. This government, probably to save costs, has snipped the height of the statue and increased the height of the base pedestal. That’s an insult to the Maratha king and our hero,” said Patil.

Chavan questioned why the state did not start work on the memorial when the design and project had got clearance in February 2015.

“The clearance was given for a project where the height of the statute was 160 meters and that of the pedestal was 32 meters. Then government claimed they would build the tallest statue in the world and increased the height to 210 meters. But that’s a hollow claim,” said Chavan

He added that by December 2016, the memorial’s specifications had undergone changes with the height of the statue reduced to 126 meters and the pedestal increased to 84 meters. The statue of unity of Sardar Patel has a statue height of 157 meters and that of the pedestal is 25 meters, Chavan also pointed out.

“That’s probably the reason why the work on the memorial cannot start, because this design has not even got a environment clearance. One reason could be that the state is saving on the costs for the bronze statue as its finances are in a poor condition,” alleged Chavan.

He also threatened to move a breach of privilege motion against the chief minister on the issue.

Chavan got irked as Fadnavis tabled a statement in the House, pointing out that there was no such reduction and former government’s design of the memorial had never been approved.

“The height of the statue and the pedestal is as per global standards and as recommended by our consultants. In such cases, the norm is 60:40 per cent of the statue to the pedestal and we are going with that. The idea is that such a memorial must last for generations and centuries to come,” said Fadnavis.

He also dared Chavan to go ahead with the privilege motion.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 15:51 IST