Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday laid the foundation stone for what is set to be the world’s tallest statue, as its projected multi-million-dollar cost sparked criticism and an online petition against the project.
The proposed 630ft (192 metre) statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji, a 16th century ruler from western India, will be built off the coast of Mumbai.
- Once completed. the statue will be more than twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and five times higher than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
- It will tower over the 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China’s Henan province that is currently the world’s tallest statue.
The memorial to be built on a 15.96 hectare islet will have an art museum, amphitheater, library, marine aquarium, helipad, hospital, food courts, stalls, and a jetty for tourists.
According to reports, Government of Maharashtra is expected to spend some 3,600 crore rupees ($530 million) on the statue, which is scheduled for completion by 2019.
Project draws criticism
But the project has drawn brickbats from many people who instead want the government to devote its resources to infrastructure, education and development.
So far, more than 32,000 people have signed an online petition urging the government to drop the plans.
“Apart from a waste of money, this statue is going to be terrible for the environment; for the traffic situation in South Bombay and a security nightmare,” said the petition.
Shivaji is revered by many in Maharashtra. Mumbai’s main train station and airport are named after the ruler.
The construction – on land reclaimed from the Arabian Sea – is due to be completed in 2019.
-Published on 25 December 2016