Towering tribute | Outlook Business
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Photo by Soumik Kar

Imagenation

Towering tribute
Decades after the idea was first floated and years after the state decided to revisit it, the Shivaji-at-sea project gets a deadline

The date is set, the path is clear, the clearances are in place — now all that is left is the actual construction. Years after the previous state government — based on a decades-old suggestion — floated a proposal to set up a mid-sea memorial to local legend Chhatrapati Shivaji off the coast of Mumbai, the current dispensation has finally given the project a firm push — and a deadline. Having secured crucial court nods and an environmental clearance from the Centre — which the previous government wasn’t able to secure — the state has declared its intent to throw open the memorial by 2019, right in time for the general elections. Nearly ₹100 crore has been set aside in the recently released state budget towards the project, plus an additional ₹5 crore for every such memorial set up in other states. Of course, the actual cost of the other infrastructure and entertainment facilities that will accompany the 192-metre statue of Shivaji 3.5 km into the sea is set to touch ₹2,000 crore. Since Mumbai has in the past been the target of seafaring terrorists, there will be significant financial outgo towards security arrangements as well. But given that certain groups have threatened action if the construction doesn’t go through this time, looks like the state government doesn’t have much of a choice but to meet its self-imposed deadline.

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