The statue of warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, to come up in the Arabian Sea, will be the tallest in the world, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday said in the state Assembly. The height of the statue along with the pedestal will be 210 metres. The height of the statue will be 121.2 metres and it will be mounted on a pedestal 88.8 metres tall. His statement followed Congress-NCP allegations that the government had reduced the height of the statue.
Former Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan (Congress) said, “When the original proposal of Shivaji statue was mooted during the Congress-NCP regime, the height proposed was 160 metres and pedestal was 32 metres. The height of the statue along with pedestal, which was discussed and approved, was 192 metres.” Giving reasons for altering the height, the Chief Minister said, “The expert committee that mooted the proposal for structural design has recommended 60:40 ratio for the height of Shivaji statue and pedestal. The government had approved the design recommended by the panel of experts including the JJ School of Arts and Architecture.”
Chavan said, “The Fadnavis government altered the design where it reduced the height of the statue from 160 metres to 121.2 metres. And instead it raised the pedestal height from 32 metres to 88.8 metres.” Although overall height of the project increased from 192 metres to 210 metres, the actual height of the statue has been reduced, he said. Chavan said, “After the design change, the state government has not received environmental clearance from the Environment Appraisal Committee, which is mandatory.”
Indicating that he was raising the basic questions to know whether the design change was to save on expenditure, Chavan said, “The technical reason cited by the state government was not convincing.” Drawing a parallel with the Statue of Unity in Gujarat, showing Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Congress leader pointed out that the statue was 157 metres tall and the pedestal was only 25 metres taking the total to 182 metres.
The government dismissed Chavan’s comparison as technically faulty. “There is a difference between statue in the river and in the deep sea,” Fadnavis said, adding, “In the last 15 years, Congress-NCP government could not install a single brick for the Shivaji memorial project. During their tenure they could not even get the approval from the ministry of environment.”
Last week, the government handed over the letter of acceptance to L&T for the project. The project would cost Rs 2,500 crore. Apart from the tallest statue of Shivaji mounted on a horse, there would be a state-of-the-art auditorium where a light and sound show would depic the life and work of Shivaji.