India

SC and PWD issued notice to shut down Shivaji Memorial Construction

By SN Ansari

Mumbai: The Shiv Smarak or the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial is a monument under construction dedicated to Shivaji, the 16th-century Indian warrior king and founder of the Maratha Empire. The statue will be located in the Arabian Sea, near the coast of Mumbai city in the Indian state, Maharashtra.

According to environmentalists, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial would cause harm to the marine ecosystem and ecology of the Arabian Sea. On the other side, the ‘Koli’ fishing community is also fearing about survival.

Maharashtra’s Public Works Department (PWD) issued a notice on 11 January 2019 to Larsen and Toubro, which is constructing the statue, to bring the work to a halt which is in progress even after SC ordered to stop it.

Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice SK Kaul of Supreme Court bench hearing on a petition filed by Conservation Action Trust (CAT) NGO. In a petition, the NGO challenged the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) exempting the project from the public hearing process as per a notification issued in February 2015.

The petition was filed by Debi Goenka environmentalist from CAT after seeking a stay on construction of Shivaji Maharaj Memorial from the Bombay High Court. CAT is dedicated to providing assistance in the form of technical information, legal advice, aid and equipment to all those who are confronting environmental problems.

The statue will be of 126 meters (413 ft) in height, placed on top of an 84 m (276 ft) pedestal, making the total height of the monument, 212 m (696 ft).  Statue was initially planned for 192 meters, however, it was increased to 212 meters as the state government wanted to keep the statue as the tallest competing statue against an upcoming ‘Spring Temple Buddha’ in China.

The project area is planned to be spread over 130,000 square meters. It is expected to be completed in 2021. Initially, the total cost of the project was estimated to be about Rs 4,000 crores, but cost-reduction measures have resulted in a contract worth Rs 2,800 crores.

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