Shivaji memorial update

A letter from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change, dated June 15, to the chief engineer, public works department, released on the MoEFCC website on Friday, cleared the revised construction plans (made in October 2017) presented by the state’s PWD on April 22.

In the revised clearances, the Union government has directed the state to follow a new clause of corporate environment responsibility plan. Considering the proposal for amendment to the environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone rules on construction near the shore clearance, the letter signed by Kaushal Vashisht, director, MoEFCC, read, “Based on the information furnished by the project proponent and the expert appraisal committee recommendations, the Ministry hereby accords amendment to environmental and CRZ clearance with additional conditions.”

While all previous conditions for environmental and CRZ clearances for the statue remain unchanged, EAC directed the state to bring in additional clauses including a focus on marine conservation, a plan for management of fishing operations, during the construction, among other conditions.

The CER plan stipulates creation of infrastructure for drinking water, sanitation, health, education, skill development, roads, and help to farmers in areas around the project.

Vinayak Mete, chairman of the committee that oversees implementation of the memorial project, said the revised clearances will be adhered to, but the Centre’s recommendations will be implemented only after a fresh letter, seeking permission to further increase the statue’s height by another two metres (212m), is sanctioned.

The project is to construct a memorial – an oval-shaped basalt rocky outcrop - in the form of an equestrian statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj on a reclaimed island in the Arabian Sea in the Back Bay area.“There is no ecosensitive area or national park or sanctuaries located within 10 km of project area. There is no forest land involved in the project. The proposed site falls in CRZ IV ‘A’ area,” read the environment ministry letter.

The revised plans also includes setting up of two breakwaters towards north and south end of the site.

Environmentalists said the new design would be disastrous for Mumbai’s coastline. 

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