CHIEF MINISTER Devendra Fadnavis on Friday said the government will go ahead with the construction of the Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian Sea despite opposition to the project. “Even the great warrior king had to face opposition but that did not stop him. We will also not let any opposition stop the project,” said the chief minister at an event at the Gateway of India.
The state government’s plan to build the Rs 3,600-crore memorial has been criticised by environmentalists and local residents. While environmentalists have raised concerns over the impact of the construction on marine life, an online petition started this week by a citizen against the memorial has so far garnered over 21,000 signatures. Fisherfolk have also opposed the construction, claiming it will affect their livelihood.
The chief minister, however, assured Shivaji followers that the state-of-the-art statue will be constructed and made ready during his tenure.
A day ahead of the jalpujan for the Chhatrapati Shivaji statue by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party indulged in a show of strength across the city. Water samples from rivers and soil samples from the warrior king’s forts were collected from all 36 districts and rallied across the city.
At a time when the Maratha community is seeking benefits through quotas, the BJP invoked the illustrious history of Chhatrapati Shivaji. A chariot rally displaying the 72 urns filled with water and soil started from Shivaji Chowk in Chembur. Saffron flags were unfurled across the city as the rally made its way to the Gateway of India where the chief minister made his address.
“After a delay of 15 years, the dream for the statue will finally be fulfilled,” said Fadnavis.