Updated: March 15, 2016 11:24:02 am
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday visited the site of the proposed world class Chhatrapati Shivaji Monument project, to be constructed by 2019, in the Arabian Sea.
Taking the first big step to translate the project to reality, Fadnavis directed the Ministry of Finance to make adequate budgetary allocations for the initial work. It reckons the government can work out its budget phase wise in the next four years making a beginning in 2016-17.
The 192-metre-tall statue of the warrior king mounted on a war horse wielding a sword has been given all clearances. The chief minister who visited the egg shaped basalt rocky plain almost3.5 kms into the Arabian Sea discussed the phasewise project estimated to incur a total expenditure, along with other infrastructure and entertainment zones, of Rs 1,900 to Rs 2,000 crore.
The light and sound on life of King Shivaji for which state-of-the-art auditorium will be built will also house a multi-cuisine food court. The infrastructure will be a mammoth task, beginning with jetties and an access route for what it estimates to be 10,000 footfalls daily.
Fadnavis, who also holds the home portfolio, discussed at length the security aspects for which a separate plan is in place. The entire project will be under CCTV surveillance as coastal security is of utmost importance in the wake of threats. The mega plans include exhibition galleries, an art museum and a garden landscape.
Highly placed sources in the ministry of finance revealed, “To begin with, we may set aside Rs 200 to 250 crore for the Shivaji statue project. It is symbolic to begin with as the entire project would be in big private partnerships.” However, the government appears committed to taking up the project on a war footing as it wants to fulfill its promise made to people of Maharashtra in the 2014 Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
Fadnavis said, “ My government is committed to constructing Chhatrapati Shivaji’s memorial. We have got all clearances required. There are some aspects being fine tuned to begin the work.”
The state government had appointed a committee led by Shivsangram chief Vinayak Mete to look into the project.
Union Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar said, “The Centre has already given its go-ahead to the state government’s project. Yet, if there are any aspects which needs to be re-looked or reworked we will coordinate with the state government. The centre has given its complete approval for the project.”
The government has set an ambitious target of completing the project by 2019. Although many in the Congress-NCP believe it is an uphill task considering it’s a mammoth project and has huge financial implications, the Fadnavis government believes it is achievable.
Governor C H Vidyasagar Rao’s joint address to members of the State Legislature Assembly and Council at the Central Hall on the first day of the budget session also found a mention of the Shivaji memorial project.
While maintaining there is no hurdle in the way of the project, the government revealed, “A project management consultant has been appointed. The government will complete this work by year 2019.”
The project, first discussed in 1980 remained on the backburner till 2004. The Congress-NCP government revived the project with a great zeal and set up an experts committee to chalk out the design and landscape. However, Congress-NCP, which repeatedly made a mention of this project in their election manifesto, could never take the project to its logical end.
A former NCP minister who was part of the team said, “There were problems in getting clearance from of the union environment ministry. However, despite cabinet clearance it could never translate into reality.”
Fadnavis also has a strong support from Shiv Sena for the project. Sena (MLA) Sunil Prabhu said, “The chief minister has shown a political will which was lacking in the Congress-NCP government.”
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