Fight over height of Shivaji’s statue

The Asian Age.

Metros, Mumbai

NCP leader Jayant Patil said that the statue height has been decreased and the height of the pedestal has been increased.

The height of the statue has been reduced from 160m to 126m.

Mumbai: Objecting to change in the design of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue off the Arabian Sea, the Congress and Nationalist Congress Party MLAs have raised questions as to why the height has been reduced. 

The proposed height of the statue was 160 metre when the proposal was mooted in 2001 but now it has been reduced to 126 metre. The issue of the statue rocked the assembly on Wednesday where the opposition members demanded an explanation from the government. The Shiv Sena wants the height of the statue to be the tallest in the world. 

Sena MP Sanjay Raut, without referring to the statue of freedom fighter Sardar Patel in Gujarat, said that all politicians have taken inspiration from Shivaji Maharaj. "No one can compare the thoughts, work and personality of Shivaji Maharaj with others. So his statue should be the tallest than any one else," Mr Raut said. 

NCP leader Jayant Patil said that the statue height has been decreased and the height of the pedestal has been increased. 

The proposed height of the pedestal was 32 metre which has been increased to 84 metre. However, the total height of the memorial has increased from 192 metre to 210 metre. Congress MLA Prithviraj Chavan said that the change in project would require new environmental clearance. "Work of the project has not yet started because fresh environmental clearance has not been sought," he said. Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil demanded a discussion on the issue setting aside the day's agenda. NCP leader Ajit Pawar accused the government of using Shivaji Maharaj's name to garner votes.

Responding to the allegations, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said that the government will complete the project during its tenure and asked the opposition not to politicise the issue. "Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's statue will be the tallest in the world. It will remain 210 metre. There is no need to play politics over it," he said.

The Opposition members created a ruckus in the Assembly. The house was adjourned for 10 minutes. After the house reassembled, education minister Vinod Tawde said that the Opposition was not comfortable with the fact that the construction of Shivaji statue will start during the tenure of the BJP-led government. Sources said that Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray will be aggressive on the issue of the height of the statue.