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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

‘Took all possible safety measures… if the crane missed the balance, the statue would have been damaged’

Nearly six years after it was removed from the south-east lawns of Karnataka’s Vidhana Soudha to facilitate Bengaluru Metro Rail construction work, a seven feet statue of Jawaharlal Nehru was reinstalled on June 26.

Written by Darshan Devaiah BP |
Updated: July 4, 2021 10:22:04 am
‘Took all possible safety measures… if the crane missed the balance, the statue would have been damaged’The Nehru statue being placed back on June 26. (PTI)

Nearly six years after it was removed from the south-east lawns of Karnataka’s Vidhana Soudha to facilitate Bengaluru Metro Rail construction work, a seven feet statue of Jawaharlal Nehru was reinstalled on June 26. The removal had led to protests, prompting CM B S Yediyurappa to assure the opposition Congress last year that the statue would be reinstalled at a suitable location soon.

Malshish, Assistant Executive Engineer, Karnataka Public Works Department speaks to The Indian Express.

1. Why was the statue shifted?

In 2016, the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) had approached the Public Works Department (PWD) to shift the statue temporarily to take up underground construction work. Since the work involved a lot of structural disturbance and could have damaged the statue, it was shifted.

2. Where was the statue moved to?

As per the orders of the government, the statue was shifted to Rose Garden, beside the grand steps of the Vidhana Soudha. The statue made of black stone was wrapped in Gunny sack and white cloth. The PWD department was responsible for its upkeep. The statue was cleaned every week by the PWD department workers and it was tightly packed so that the statue would not be touched by anyone, this would avoid damage to the statue.

3. How was the statue reinstalled?

On June 26, work to reinstall the statue in the south-east lawns of the Vidhana Soudha began. It took a day-and-a-half to complete the reinstallation and required coordination with the BMRCL and other departments. The statue was covered with a layer of dried grass and then tied with cloth to prevent any external damage during shifting. We took all possible safety measures since people are sensitive about the statue. We used a crane to install the statue on the pedestal at its original location. We had taken a lot of technical advice from experts because if the crane missed the balance even for a second, the whole statue would have been damaged.

4. What kind of planning went into the removal and reinstallation?

Since both the removal and reinstallation were complex tasks, especially since it involved a pedestal, we consulted experts at all levels. The experts include the engineering team from the PWD department who had experience of moving other statutes. Total there were around 25 people from the department for the reinstallation of the statue. The restoration involved months of planning. Fortunately, we had an experienced team that had already done similar work for the Ambedkar statue. While the PWD department was responsible for the shifting, BMRCL provided the funds for it.

5. Were other statues also shifted from the premises for the construction?

Apart from Jawaharlal Nehru’s statue, Subhas Chandra Bose and B R Ambedkar’s statues were also shifted to facilitate the construction of the Vidhana Soudha underground metro station. A few years ago, the Ambedkar statue was reinstalled; the Bose statue has not been shifted back yet.

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