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Shivaji memorial off Mumbai coast gets nod to be 210-m tall

Environment ministry has approved the plan to increase the height of the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue, off the city coast, from 192m to 210m.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2018 12:58 IST
Badri Chatterjee
Badri Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Shiavji statue,Shivaji memorial,MoEFCC
The project is to construct a memorial – an oval-shaped basalt rocky outcrop - in the form of an equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on a reclaimed island in the Arabian Sea in the Back Bay area.(HT File)

The environment ministry has approved the plan to increase the height of the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue, off the city coast, from 192m to 210m.

A letter from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change (MoEFCC), dated June 15, to the chief engineer, public works department (PWD), released on the MoEFCC website on Friday, cleared the revised construction plans (made in October 2017) presented by the state’s PWD on April 22 with additional conditions. In the revised clearances, the Union government has directed the state to follow a new clause of corporate environment responsibility (CER) plan.

Considering the proposal for amendment to the environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules on construction near the shore clearance, the letter signed by Kaushal Vashisht, director, MoEFCC, read, “Based on the information furnished by the project proponent and the expert appraisal committee (EAC) recommendations, the Ministry hereby accords amendment to environmental and CRZ clearance with additional conditions.”

HT had reported on May 5 that while all previous conditions for environmental and CRZ clearances for the statue remain unchanged, EAC had directed the state to bring in additional clauses including a focus on marine conservation, a plan for management of fishing operations, during the construction, among other conditions.

The CER plan stipulates creation of infrastructure for drinking water, sanitation, health, education, skill development, roads, and help to farmers in areas around the project.

“The activities proposed under CER shall be restricted to the affected area. The monitoring report shall be submitted to the regional office as a part of a half-yearly compliance report, and to the district collector. It should be posted on the project website of the project proponent,” read the directions.

Vinayak Mete, chairman of the committee that oversees implementation of the memorial project, said the revised clearances will be adhered to, but the Centre’s recommendations will be implemented only after a fresh letter, seeking permission to further increase the statue’s height by another two metres (212m), is sanctioned.

The project is to construct a memorial – an oval-shaped basalt rocky outcrop - in the form of an equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on a reclaimed island in the Arabian Sea in the Back Bay area.“There is no eco-sensitive area or national park or sanctuaries located within 10km of project area. There is no forest land involved in the project. The proposed site falls in CRZ IV ‘A’ area,” read the environment ministry letter. The revised plans also includes setting up of two breakwaters (a barrier to protect the coast from waves) towards north and south end of the site.

Environmentalists said the new design would be disastrous for Mumbai’s coastline. “The Centre cannot give a revised clearance as the project parameters have changed completely. Apart from height modifications, the two breakwaters will cause significant change in project profile,” said Debi Goenka executive trustee of the environment group Conservation Action Trust, who has filed a petition in the Bombay high court regarding the project’s impact on marine.

“From a technical point of view,the design does not work as the 50m sword of the warrior king weighing 1,000 tonnes, will be constructed at an angle with a smaller pedestal,” said Goenka.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 12:58 IST