HC seeks Maha govt stand on plea against Shivaji memorial

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today sought the the Maharashtra government’s stand on a plea against the proposed Rs 3,600 crore Shivaji memorial in the Arabian Sea.

A bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice G S Kulkarani asked the government to file an affidavit within three weeks detailing its stand on the plea against the government’s plan to build a 192-metre high statue of Maratha warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj in the Arabian Sea.

“The affidavit should respond to every contention raised in the petition, including the funds,” the bench said.

The plea filed by one Mohan Binde, a charted accountant has challenged the construction of the memorial contending that government’s decision to spend Rs 3,600 crore on the project is “illogical and uncalled for.”

Binde’s lawyer Ketan Parekh argued before the bench that the government should spend money towards other important issues first.

The petition pleaded to the court to “scrap, cancel, set aside and quash the project.”

“The proposed budget for the said project is about Rs 3,600 crore. Merely for inaugurating the opening ceremony, the state government spent Rs 77 crore,” the petition said.

“All this expenditure at a time when the government is itself facing financial crunch is unnecessary. Last year the government declared drought in over 25,000 villages,” it said adding that the government should first focus on addressing these issues.

“The public at large is not concerned with building of such memorials. The public expects the state to provide a better standard of living and better public amenities, which is the priority of the day,” the petition said.

The plea further said if the political parties want to create a memorial for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, they should first take steps towards maintaining the forts built by the Maratha warrior king and his descendants across the state.

“Many of these forts are in a dilapidated condition and the government has not taken any measures to renovate them,” the plea alleged.