NEW YORK (TIP): Chhatrapati Shivaji’s statue, off the coast of Mumbai in Arabian Sea will come up by 2019. Devendra Phadnavis, Maharashtra Chief Minister, disclosed it to The Indian Panorama Chief Editor Prof. Indrajit S Saluja in a meeting the latter had with him in New York on June 29.
Phadnavis visited June 29 the Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty, a colossal neoclassical sculpture in New York Harbor, to commemorate liberty, fraternity and equality. Maharashtra will have, by 2019, a colossal statue of Shivaji in the Arabian Sea, off the coast of Mumbai, to commemorate the golden period of rule of the Maratha King, who had fought relentlessly against the attempts of the Mughal emperors to enslave the people of Maratha region. Shiva Ji is regarded as a great warrior in the true Indian tradition and is ranked with the greatest heroes of Indian history, like Maharana Pratap and Guru Gobind Singh. The height of the latest tribute to the Maratha king will be 200 meter, making it taller than the Statue of Liberty, which is 93 meter.
The Congress-led Democratic Front government in Maharashtra had first made an announcement on Shivaji memorial in 2004. The decision to install the statue was taken by the Congress government in August, 2009. It was to come up on a 16-hectare bedrock in the Arabian Sea. The Navy had opposed the project citing restrictions on construction in the Coastal Regulatory Zone.
Planned on the lines of the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Swami Vivekananda Rock Memorial in Kanyakumari, the Shivaji statue is to be located off the Marine Drive. The government had then approved the design submitted by Bensley Design Studios, Thailand and Team One Architects, Mumbai. The government had also approved a sum of INR50 crore for the memorial in 2009-10 and budgeted INR300 crore more the next year. A museum of the Maratha king is to be a part of the project.
The then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Prithviraj Chavan had claimed that the statue would be the world’s tallest, twice the size of the Sardar Patel statue championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat. However, the project had remained dormant in view of environment ministry sitting over it.
When the BJP led NDA government came to power at the center in 2014, the project was expeditiously cleared. The Environment ministry okayed, on December 4, 2014 Shivaji statue in Arabian Sea. Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Prakash Javadekar said the clearance has been given and a notification for the same would be out soon. “The issue of having a statue of Shivaji Maharaj, which was pending for the last few years, has been sorted out. The chief minister of Maharashtra (Devendra Phadnavis) had discussion with me a few days back and I had assured him to expedite the process soon.
“We have given clearance for the issue and a notification would be out by Friday night,” Javadekar had then told a news conference in New Delhi.