NEW DELHI: The construction work for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj's equestrian statue in the Arabian Sea will begin after the monsoons.
The Shivaji Maharaj memorial, which has a 36-month completion period, will come up on a 15.96 hectare rocky basalt outcrop in the Arabian Sea, 1.2 km south west of Raj Bhawan. Once completed, it is touted to be the world's tallest statue, at 210 metres.
On March 1, the state government awarded the letter of acceptance (LOA) to engineering major Larsen & Toubro for Rs 2,500 crore on an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) model.
"Actual construction at the site will begin only in October. However, work on land on components like jetties, will begin before this," said legislator Vinayak Mete, who heads the state government's committee monitoring the project.
"This is a huge project. Surveys like oceanographic studies and other detailing will have be done before starting the physical work," noted a senior public works department (PWD) official who is among those monitoring the project.
He added that they planned to use four jetties — at Gateway of India, Gorai, Navi Mumbai, and NCPA — to transport men and material to the site.
"The sea is choppy on the western sea board during the rains. Hence, physical work can begin only after the monsoons," the official explained.
The statue will be made of a bronze alloy to withstand the saline marine environment, corrosion and wind pressure. An area of around 10 hectare will be developed on the rock for the memorial and related facilities in two phases.
The state wants the statue to rise to 210 metres, to make it two metres taller than the Spring Temple Buddha in China's Henan province, which is the world's tallest statue at present. The hill on which the statue of Vairocana Buddha is built was reshaped to increase its height to 208 metres.
The memorial of the warrior-king will have amenities like landscape gardens, two jetties, library, helipad, medical facilities, amphitheatre and museum.
The project has been pending for almost 15 years and critics have apprehensions about whether these funds could be put to better use, such as in social sector schemes.
Three infrastructure majors had bid for the construction of the memorial and statue of Shivaji Maharaj. Though the state expected the first phase to cost Rs 2,300 crore, Afcons and L&T had quoted Rs 4,779 crore and Rs 3,826 crore, respectively. Reliance Infrastructure lost in the technical evaluation.
The project was awarded to L&T at Rs 2,500 crore after negotiations.