The Maharashtra government’s plan to increase the height of the proposed Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial off the Mumbai coast from 192 metres to 210 metres has received the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority’s approval, the Hindustan Times reported.
The massive equestrian statue of Maratha warrior king Shivaji is expected to be built on a 16-hectare rock in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai, and once built, will be the tallest statue in the world. The Spring Temple Buddha statue in China, at 208 metres, is the world’s tallest statue currently.
“Our major concern was whether the state had received height clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which they had,” said Satish Gavai, Chairman of the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority, and Additional Chief Secretary of the state’s Environment Department. “After they submitted all permissions to us and presented a comparison of different statues in the world, we were told that the tip of Shivaji Maharaj’s sword will be at 210 metres.”
Gavai said that they have issued a verbal clearance, and a formal response would be given in a few days. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Samiti, the body appointed by the government to implement the project said that work will commence in January 2018, and it is expected to be completed by 2021.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the Ministry of Finance to allot Rs 3,600 crore for the project last year. However, recent estimates suggest it would now cost Rs 4,000 crore.
Since it was first conceived 12 years ago, the budget for Shivaji’s statue has risen more than 35 times. In 2004, the budget was around Rs 100 crore, which jumped to Rs 700 crore in 2009, Rs 1,400 crore in 2013 and Rs 3,600 crore in 2016.
The state government bypassed legal procedure by getting an exemption on February 5, 2015 from conducting public hearings on the statue’s construction from the Union Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change.Local fishermen say it will affect their fishing grounds and the island. Environmentalists have also opposed the construction saying it will affect marine life.