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Modi to lay foundation of mid-sea Shivaji memorial

Prime Minister Modi will lay the foundation of the memorial proposed for Maratha king in the Arabian Sea in November, while a new project developer is likely to be finalised next month.

Announcing this here today, Vinayak Mete, head of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Samiti, said the ceremony was scheduled on February 19 to coincide with Shiv Jayanti but had to be put off due to non-availability of the PM’s date.

However, the exact date for the foundation laying ceremony in November is yet to be finalised.

The Samiti is overseeing the Government’s Rs 1,900-crore project that envisages building a grand statue and memorial for the 17th century warrior king in the Arabian Sea off coast.

The mid-sea structure, also being pitched as a major tourist site, will have special slide shows on the life of Shivaji, a theme park and a food court, among other facilities.

The Government has invited fresh bids to develop the memorial after a consortium of Indian and Canadian firms, which was to design and develop the project, backed out citing “miscommunication” among the companies involved.

“The lowest bidder, a consortium of Indian and Canadian firms, backed out a month ago due to miscommunication between them. This led to a fresh bidding. The Indian company that backed out will not be allowed to bid again but the Canadian firm can do so,” Mete told reporters here.

He said according to the modified conditions of the tender contract, the company that leads the bid will own at least 51 per cent share in in the JV or consortium.

“At the same time, the engineers and technical staff vying for the mega project should have worked on a similar venture in the past. Bids will be open in the first week of September,” he said.

The memorial has received all the necessary clearances from the Centre. The Democratic Front (Congress-NCP) Government had promised the memorial in 2004 and again in 2009 in the run up to Assembly elections.