Bombay High Court refuses to scrap Shivaji memorial project

Mumbai: Observing that the cost of Shiv Smarak (Chhatrapati Shivaji memorial) will have no impact on other necessary requirements, the Bombay High Court on Friday refused to scrap or even stay the construction of the proposed statue of Shivaji in the Arabian sea. The HC also accepted the proposed scheme of the government to recoup the huge amount of Rs 3,600 crores from the general public, which would be visiting the statue site.

A division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice Girish Kulkarni said, “To have a project of this nature is a policy decision taken by the government. The priorities of the public need are matters which lie completely in the domain of the government. We are sure the government has given its appropriate consideration on all the financial issues before taking a policy decision to undertake the project in question.”

The bench further said, “It is clear that the proper financial provision has been made and normal expenditure which would be incurred by the state government on other necessary requirements is not being affected. Also, that the government contemplates a scheme which would be worked out to recoup the cost of the project which may include fees which would be charged from the visitors.”

The bench was seized with a batch of petitions led by professor Mohan Bhide challenging the government decision to construct a 212 metres Shiv Smarak in the Arabian sea.  Bhide argued, if the government is so concerned of Shivaji, then instead of constructing such a statue, it should instead focus on the historical monuments like the birth place of Shivaji and the forts. He argued, the government does not have proper funds to construct such an expensive statue, as it is already debt ridden, with nearly Rs 3.51 lakh crores.

“In the above circumstances and taking an over all view of the matter, we are afraid that the reliefs prayed by the petitioner cannot be granted. We would leave these issues and concern of the petitioner to the wisdom of the government,” the judges said while dismissing the petition.

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