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Statue of Shivaji will soon rise, off Mumbai coast, four feet taller than Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty is set to be overshadowed, albeit on the other side of the Atlantic. The Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra...

Written by Nganesh | Mumbai |
June 3, 2008 12:15:18 am

The Statue of Liberty is set to be overshadowed, albeit on the other side of the Atlantic. The Congress-NCP alliance government in Maharashtra has decided to install a 309-foot-tall Shivaji statue, four feet taller than the New York monument and the tallest in India — in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai’s Marine Drive.

The decision comes days before the manifesto committees of the Congress and NCP are due to meet to review progress on the promises made. It also coincides with the growing clamour to protect the interests of Maharashtrians by Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena and the Shiv Sena.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his deputy R R Patil visited the site with senior officials today and Deshmukh directed his officers to ensure quick clearances for the Rs 200-crore project, officials told The Indian Express.

They said the statue will have a 150-foot-high pedestal on which will be installed a 159-foot-tall bronze of Shivaji riding a horse. That would make it taller than a 30-storey building and the tallest statue in the country, dwarfing the Hanuman statue in New Delhi which is 174 feet tall. It would be among the top 10 tallest statues in the world, a list which is mostly dominated by Buddha statues in east Asia.

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The project is estimated to take two years and is subject to environment clearances. Besides, BSNL cables on the seabed will have to be shifted.

The statue was first promised in the Cong-NCP poll manifesto in 2004 but the government’s plans to hunt for a location had run into problems. While the Navy refused permission to install it at Oyster Rocks off the eastern coast, the Mumbai Port Trust rejected a second location at Cross Island. The new location finalised today will be at the centre of the curvature of the Queen’s Necklace where the state plans to make an artificial island by reclaiming 7.5 acres about 1 km from the shore.

Besides housing the statue, the island will serve as a tourist spot with a sound and light show based on the life of Shivaji, a museum, a library, an eatery and an ornamental garden. A jetty at the National Centre for Performing Arts at the end of Marine Drive will ferry tourists to the island.

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