THE MINISTRY of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had last month given its approval to increase the height of the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial on the Arabian Sea from 192 metres to 210 metres. However, sources said the state government seeks to submit another plan to the MoEF, seeking clearance to increase the height of the statue to 212 m to ensure that it is the tallest in the world.
An expert panel of the MoEF, at its meeting held in april, had approved the proposed memorial at 210 m but with certain riders. “The project shall be dove tailed with the Coastal Zone Management Plan to be drawan up by the state government in compliance to the NGT orders. Full compliance to the NGT orders shall be ensured,” the committee said.
The committee said the state government should draw up a marine biodiversity management plan, along with a plan for management of fish and fishing operations, to be implemented in consultation with respective departments. “The project proponent will certify that there is no legal restriction on the proposed project activities at the proposed site,” the panel added.
According to the state PWD, the monument includes a 126-m tall equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, placed on a two-tiered pedestal at an height of 84 m, reaching an overall height of 210 m. It has also proposed to erect a fortified wall of 14 m around the island to protect the area from seawater. The project is estimated to cost Rs 2,500 crore. Besides, around 13.15 hectare (for phases I and II of the project) has been proposed to be developed with various ancillary facilities, such as an art museum, amphitheatre and a helipad complex, exhibition gallery, landscaping, open space for viewing and galleries, cafeteria, lavatories, stalls and offices.
In March, the state government had handed over the “letter of acceptance” to L&T to build a grand Shivaji memorial on the Arabian Sea. But now, it plans to see its height increased. “The height of the Spring Temple Buddha in China was 208 m. So, we proposed a memorial of 210 m to make it tallest statue in the world. Now, we hear that some construction at the Spring Temple Buddha statue’s base is likely to increase the height to 210 m. So, we will have to revise our plan by increasing the height two meters,” said a senior PWD official.
The official added that the issue will be examined by law and judiciary department, which is now in the process of finalising the contract with L&T. “So, we will take up the issue of increasing height further with the department. Then, a call will be taken accordingly.”