Maharashtra govt adds 18m to Shivaji statue, to be world’s tallest at 210m

Mumbai: The 210-meter-high statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which the Maharashtra government plans to build in the sea off the Mumbai coast, has received environmental clearance, making it the world’s tallest statue, once built. The Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) on October 30 approved the government’s application to increase the height from the earlier proposed 192 meters.
Currently, the Spring Temple Buddha statue, which stands at 208 meters in China, is the world’s tallest statue.
MCZMA officials said since other approvals are in place, the environmental clearance, too, was issued. “Our major concern was whether the state had received height clearance from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which they had,” said Satish Gavai, chairman, MCZMA and additional chief secretary, state 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 meters.”
Gavai said a verbal clearance had been issued and within a few days, the state will be given a formal response too.
Last year, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis directed the Ministry of Finance to make budgetary allocation of Rs 3,600 crore for the project. However, members of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Samiti (CSMSS), the group appointed by the state government to implement the project, said that after the height increase, the project would now cost Rs 4,000 crore.
The equestrian statue of the warrior king has been planned on a rocky outcrop of 15.96 hectares, roughly 1.5km from Raj Bhavan, at the southern tip of Mumbai. The memorial will have a temple, hospital, entrance modeled on the Raigad fort and a museum showcasing highlights of Shivaji’s life – all of which will be built in the first phase of the project, at an estimated cost of Rs2,500 crore.
CSMSS members told HT the construction work will commence from January 2018 and is expected to be completed by 2021.
“MCZMA officials sanctioned the project based on technical and legal aspects of the project. We are expecting the formal response. We now have all clearances to go ahead with construction of the tallest statue,” said Vinayak Mete, head, CSMSS. “As opposed to the Statue of Liberty in New York or Christ the Redeemer in Rio, which are just statues, the Maratha King’s statue will have his life history on display and the coming generations will be inspired by his stories. The idea is to relay Shivaji Maharaj’s teachings to the world.”
Mete said that in the second phase of the project, they will build a helipad and an iMAX theatre. “There are several other project ideas for the second phase. However, we will need another six months to finalize them,” he said.
The construction of the statue has been opposed by environmentalists and the fishing community. While activists said marine life will be affected by the land filling that will have to be done to create an island from the rocky outcrop, fishermen have said the project will destroy fishing grounds, besides blocking the route taken by fishing boats.

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