Islet for offshore Shivaji statue?

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 08 Januari 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: The state government may not need to reclaim land for the proposed statue of Maratha warrior Shivaji in the Arabian Sea. If all goes by the plan, the state could zero in on an islet in the bay of Nariman Point, where a hydrological survey of an 18-acre uninhabited landform composing of rock is being carried out by the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB). The islet is three-four km into the sea and visible at low tides.

The one-man committee of guardian minister Jayant Patil, scouting for possible locations, said MMB is likely to submit its report to the state government by January 10. A final decision is likely to be taken in the next seven days thereafter, Patil said.

"It is wiser to have a natural base for this statue instead of opting for the costlier option of reclaiming land to create an artificial island. We would prefer a location with hard rock on seabed. A final decision will be taken after the MMB report. As of now we are exploring three locations," he said, following his site inspection on December 28 last year.

The project first found a mention in the joint manifesto announced by the Congress-NCP in 2004.In 2008, a consultant was appointed when the government shortlisted the design of a consortium following a competition. But that was soon called off due to technical glitches. The original plan was to install the statue on an artificial island created by reclaiming nearly 8 acres of land about 1 km off the shore at Girgaum Chowpatty. But so far no decision has been taken on a suitable location.

At the recently concluded winter assembly session, the government appointed the one-man committee to expedite work on the project, including facilitating the process of obtaining NOCs for the proposed 309-ft statue. , a few feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

Reportedly, nearly 47 permissions from various departments, including those at the Centre, would be required. As of now, only three nods have been obtained. One of the major concerns is the proposed reclamation of land in the sea for which the central environment department is likely to take an objection, said officials.

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