Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a day’s visit to Maharashtra today, where he will lay the foundation stone for the grand memorial of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and the metro rail projects in Mumbai and Pune.
PM Modi landed in Mumbai at 11:30 AM and left for MIDC Patalganga in neighbouring Raigad district where he will inaugurate the newly-built campus of the National Institute of Securities Management – SEBI’s new campus.
The Prime Minister will then reach Raj Bhavan and later move towards Girgaum Chowpatty for the Shivaji Memorial event around 3 pm.
He will proceed to the site in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai coast, where the state government is planning to build a mega memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
The Prime Minister’s visit assumes political significance as the high-stake elections to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are just a few weeks away.
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial will be constructed on a 15 hectare rock inside the Arabian Sea at a cost of Rs 3,600 crore. Once ready, the 210 metres high statue will be taller than New York’s Statue of Liberty.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said the ‘Shiv Smarak’ will not only be the tallest memorial in the country, but in the entire world. He had thanked PM Modi for making it possible.
Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao, Chief Minister Fadnavis, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP’s Satara MP Udayanraje Bhosale and BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP from Kolhapur Sambhaji Raje Bhosle are among the dignitaries that would accompany PM Modi in the hovercraft to the ‘jalpujan and bhumipujan’ venue off Mumbai coast.
Later, PM Modi will address a public function at the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) ground in suburban Bandra, after laying foundation stone for two Metro rail projects, Elevated Rail Corridors Project and Mumbai Trans Harbour Link (MTHL).
The actual work on the projects, however, is expected to start late next year.
Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, an ally of the ruling BJP, is expected to share the stage with Prime Minister Modi at the MMRDA event.
The memorial project has been facing stiff opposition from fishermen and environmentalists, who have alleged that it would affect marine life and ecology of the Arabian Sea.
The fishermen community leaders, however, decided not to protest further after meeting Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who assured them that their concerns will be addressed.
An online petition opposing the move has also managed to gather over 25,000 signatures.
For the MMRDA event, the government has sent out invitation to over 3,000 guests and dignitaries, including members of the royal family and Shivaji historians.
After the main event in Mumbai, PM Modi will leave for Pune, where he will lay the foundation stone of the Pune Metro Rail project at the Agriculture College ground there.
NCP leader Sharad Pawar will share the stage with Prime Minister Modi at this event.
The government and BJP are trying to make the memorial event a success with hoardings at important places of all districts and also through campaigns in print, TV and social media.
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— Devendra Fadnavis (@Dev_Fadnavis) December 22, 2016