GIVING A boost to plans to build a memorial for Dr B R Ambedkar at Indu Mills in Dadar, the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA), in a meeting on Tuesday, approved its construction in a Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) area. The construction will begin soon after the minutes of the meeting are submitted.
While the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has already begun construction in the non-CRZ area, the main 350-feet statue of Ambedkar was awaiting nod, as it is to be located in the CRZ area. “In today’s meeting, we have given our nod for the construction in the CRZ area subject to certain conditions. They have already received environment clearance for the non-CRZ area. Now, they have to get all permissions before starting construction,” said a member of the Authority.
“With the CRZ nod, we have all clearances in place and will start construction in the area after receiving the written approval,” said R A Rajeev, Metropolitan Commissioner (MMRDA). With work having begun in February, the contractors are currently creating the shore piling for the classroom, research centre and the library in the permitted area. Apart from the statue, the Rs 709-crore memorial will have a stupa, museum, library, auditorium and open park and is set to be completed by 2020.
The CRZ nod was delayed as the government was awaiting the Centre’s approval for Mumbai’s Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP). “As the Centre had not approved the CZMP yet, the CRZ limits were not demarcated and the MCZMA could not give us permission. Around 50 per cent of the memorial, including the main statue, is in the CRZ area. So, we could do work only in the remaining area,” a senior official from MMRDA said.
The CZMP, a regulatory policy for construction activity in coastal areas, had been delayed for several years and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had directed the MCZMA to not give clearances to any projects unless the CZMP is approved.
“The Centre has now approved Mumbai’s CZMP. So, we could approve the project,” said a MCZMA member. The memorial also received an no objection certificate from the Airports Authority of India for height clearance recently, allowing the MMRDA to construct the memorial to a height of up to 470 feet. However, it restricts them from installing any kind of lights on the site as this will affect flight operations. “We have obtained the permission but we have no plans to increase the height of the memorial,” a senior official said.