AN UNDERSEA tunnel, by which visitors can access the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial site in the Arabian Sea in bad weather during monsoon, is the latest idea to emerge from the committee monitoring the implementation of the project.
Vinayak Mete, the head of the memorial’s project implementation monitoring and co-ordination committee, has sought the construction of a tunnel connecting the memorial to the shore on the ground that it would not be possible to reach the proposed Shivaji statue by boat when the sea becomes rough during monsoon.
Mete, who has helmed the committee since January 2016, and was appointed to the post by the previous BJP-led state government, raised the idea in a meeting on January 27. The minutes of the meeting were issued on Monday.
“Majority of the (committee) members present said that it is not possible to reach the memorial site during monsoon and bad weather by boats. The representatives of the project’s contractor, Larsen and Toubro, also mentioned the difficulties in traveling to the site for three months during monsoon,” said Mete as per the minutes of the meeting.
He added that one has to be prepared for water, electricity and disaster management for all seasons.
“So, for all these reasons and to ferry tourists during monsoon, a tunnel should be built… The public works department should gather information and submit a report on it in the next meeting,” Mete said.
He further asked for details about the safest sea route to reach the memorial site, types of boats and permissions required from Maharashtra Maritime Board, Mumbai Port Trust and Navy.
According to government estimates, around 10,000 tourists are expected to visit the memorial site daily after completion of the work.
The proposed memorial — 212 m in height, including a 123.2-m equestrian statue standing atop an 88.8-m pedestal — was the flagship project of the previous Devendra Fadnavis government. It is expected to cost Rs 3600 crore. Questions had been raised about the economic feasibility of the memorial, which is to be built over 1.5 km inside the sea. The construction of the sea tunnel, a first in India, is likely to escalate the cost further.
Currently, work on the project is stalled.
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