The Congress and NCP have objected to the state government’s support for Shiv Srishti, the under-construction memorial to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at Ambegaon Budhruk, which is being developed by a trust led by historian Babasaheb Purandare. The parties have pointed out that Purandare, who leads the Maharaja Shivchatrapati Pratishthan, has faced allegations of “twisting historical facts” about the Maratha king.
“Babasaheb Purandare is a controversial historian, who has faced allegations of twisting history. The Congress is against the Shiv Srishti being developed by Purandare… we object to the government’s decision to support the initiative by his trust,” said Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, leader of opposition in the state Legislative Assembly, at a press conference on Tuesday.
The BJP-led government is planning to set up another memorial, also called Shiv Srishti, on land reserved for a bio-diversity park (BDP), near Chandni Chowk. Vikhe-Patil said the government should constitute a committee of historians, “to portray history accurately”, at the Shiv Srishti near near Chandni Chowk, which will be developed by the Pune Municipal Corporation. Former Deputy Chief Minister and senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar also criticised the state government’s decision to provide special status to the Shiv Srishti project in Ambegaon Budhruk.
“The state government is cheating the public by declaring that Shiv Srishti, which will be developed by the PMC, will be set up on land reserved for BDP… on the other hand, it is supporting the Shiv Srishti being developed by a trust related to Purandare,” he said. Pawar asked the state government to clarify whether it wanted a “government-owned or privately-owned Shiv Srishti”. On February 8, the state government had accorded the status of a ‘mega project ‘ to the Shiv Srishti in Ambegaon Budhruk.
As per the Maharashtra Tourism policy, the special status to the project would ensure various incentives for 10 years, including 50 per cent VAT reimbursement, 50 per cent exemption in luxury tax and entertainment tax, 50 per cent exemption in electricity duty and 50 per cent exemption in stamp duty and registration charges, while water and electricity tariff would be levied at the prevalent industrial rate for seven years from the date of operation.