Shivaji memorial statue height reduced to save cost, sword made longer to ensure it stays ‘tallest’
The Maharashtra government modified the height specifications of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial off the Arabian Sea in a bid to reduce the cost of the project, an RTI query has revealed.
Under the new design, the government has reduced the height of the warrior king’s statue by 7.5 metres, although the sword he wields will be taller than in the original design.
However, these changes will not alter the total height of the statue, which would be 121.2 metres. The height of the entire structure, including the pedestal, would be 212 metres, the government said in its reply.
“The height of Chhatrapati Shivaji’s statue has now been reduced to 75.7 metres from the earlier 83.2 metres,” it said.
But in order to maintain the statue’s overall height of 121.2 metres, the length of the sword has been raised from 38 metres to 45.5 metres, the government said.
“The height of the pedestal has been reduced to 87.4 metres from the earlier 96.2 metres. This change in the pedestal’s height will save Rs 338.94 crore,” it added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the project in December 2016.
The contract for the project was awarded to Larsen & Toubro for Rs 2,500 crore in March this year. The state government had pegged the overall project cost (phase I and II) at Rs 3,600 crore.
Shorter statue causes uproar
The Maharashtra assembly witnessed uproar on Tuesday over the government’s decision to alter specifications the Shivaji memorial.
The issue was raised in the assembly by Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan, who said the government has repeatedly reduced the height of the statue even as it claimed it would be the tallest structure in the world.
“This (statue of Shivaji) is an issue which is very close to people of the state. The government is, time and again, reducing the height of the statue. This is the last trick they have used to reduce expenses by reducing the height,” he said.
Atul Bhatkhalkar (BJP) objected to Chavan raising “any random” issue keeping aside the agenda of the business of the House. The opposition members strongly objected to the usage of the words by Bhatkhalkar and demanded his suspension.
Even Shiv Sena lashed out at Bhatkhalkar, saying any issue relating to the Maratha warrior was of supreme importance to the state. The BJP leader was later reprimanded against making any such statement in future.
Responding to the allegations, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asserted that the statue will be the tallest in the world and accused the Congress-NCP combine of not doing anything “for Maharaj” during its 15-year rule in the state (1999-2014).
“I got all the clearances, this government got all the clearances,” the chief minister said, adding that the height of the statue was not reduced and that the government was ready to spend whatever amount it would take to build the structure.
He, however, clarified the first design of the statue sent to the Union Environment Ministry was “schematic” one to get clearance and not the “proposal”.
Later, the consultants worked out a design in a way that the structure withstands the pressures of the gutsy sea wind and waves, he said.
“The height of the statue has not been reduced in any way. We will build a statue of our Shivaji Maharaj that will be tallest in the world,” he told the House.
With agency inputs