Mah govt to erect grand memorial of Shivaji Maharaj

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Mumbai, Jun 2 (UNI) The Maharashtra government has decided to erect a grand memorial of the founder of Maratha kingdom, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, in the open sea off the coast of Girgaum Chowpatty in south Mumbai.

The site for the memorial, which was promised in the last election manifesto of the ruling alliance government of Congress and NCP, was fixed today in a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh.

The Shivaji memorial is planned on the lines of the famous Statue of Liberty off New York coast in US. It will be built on a man-made island at a distance of one km from the Marin Drive.

''The island will be approximately of 7 to 8 acres,'' said an official conversant with the project.

The grand statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj would be of a height of 150 feet atop a pedestal of equal height,'' he added.

The statue will be visible from a great distance. The memorial will also house a permanent exhibition of the historical artefacts of the great Maratha warrior king as well as will have a light and sound show. The island will be beautified with excellent gardens, the official said, adding, it will be an attraction for tourists and also house array of restaurants and recreational ideas.

Although the memorial was mentioned in the election manifesto and in the first budget of the present government, the government could not locate an appropriate site.

At first, the government decided to build the memorial on an isle off the Gateway of India, but the Indian Navy had some objections to the plan.

Later, the state government appointed a committee to find a site under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary. After much deliberations, it has come up with the present site, which was endorsed in today's meeting.

The meeting was attended amongst others by Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation Commissioner Jairaj Phatak.

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