Balasaheb Thackeray memorial at Shivaji Park hits environment ministry roadblock

Mumbai: Even after five years after the death of Shiv Sena supremo, the late Balasaheb Thackeray, his proposed memorial at the Mayor’s bungalow is stuck with the environment department at the Centre.

Senior Shiv Sena leader and industries minister Subhash Desai tried to put a brave face on investment in the state. At the same time, he expressed his frustration that the work on the Thackeray memorial has not yet begun.  Unfortunately, party legislators and corporators have not yet contributed their personal share towards the memorial.

The Sena would mark the fifth death anniversary of the late Balasaheb Thackeray on November 17. The state government has registered 11-membered public trust in which Uddhav Thackeray, Shiv Sena chief and Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray are lifetime members. Desai and architect Shashi Prabhu are general secretaries.

Before the registration of the official trust, the Sena had set up an internal committee, led by Subhash Desai, who is taking care of fund raising and the follow-up with the state and central government to get various permissions. According to a Sena insider, the committee has handed over a leaflet to party legislators, corporators, office bearers and all members elected on local bodies across the state.

“The party has appealed for donations in cheque towards the memorial as self-contribution and to show respect to the late Balasaheb Thackeray. Legislators are expected to donate Rs 1 lakh towards the memorial. However, nobody has contributed till date,” said the party insider. However, Desai said that the process to collect the donation is going on.

Desai on Monday agreed that the memorial is stuck due to some permissions. “The memorial is not stuck since the past three years. Forget about first two years. We are in power since the last three years,” said Desai, adding, “The memorial has yet to get permission from the Union environment department.”

A party insider said that Shiv Sainiks across the state will gather at Shivaji Park to pay tribute to their beloved leader. “But, despite being in power, we cannot fasten the process of getting permissions to the memorial,” the source said. The state has already issued notification to lease the land for a period of 30 years at a nominal cost of Rs 1 per year. The heritage structure, the ground plus one mayoral bungalow will be converted into a memorial with minor changes.

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