MUMBAI: Opposition Congress and NCP today alleged that the Maharashtra government has reduced the height of the statue of warrior king Shivaji, to be constructed off Mumbai coast.
Raising the issue through an adjournment notice in the Assembly, NCP's Jayant Patil said the height of the statue has been decreased by changing the earlier design. The government maintained that it would be 210 metres tall, as planned.
Senior Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said fresh environmental clearance are needed as the design has been changed.
"The work has not yet started because fresh environmental clearances have not been received," he claimed.
Leader of Opposition RadhakrishnaVikhe Patil demanded a discussion on the issue, setting aside the day's agenda.
NCP's Ajit Pawar wanted to know why the design was changed. The BJP-led government was using the iconic king only to get votes, Pawar alleged.
Responding to the allegations, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said the government will complete the project during its tenure, and the opposition should not politicise Shivaji.
"Chhatrapati Shivaji's statue will be the biggest in the world. It will be and remain 210 meters high. There is no need to create doubts. The issue is of our state's pride and identity," Mungantiwar said.
Jayant Patil of NCP claimed that the statue's height has been decreased from "160 meters to 126 meters", including the pedestal.
This led to opposition MLCs shouting slogans, demanding a discussion on the issue, and the House was adjourned for ten minutes.
After the House reassembled, education minister Vinod Tawde said the opposition was envious because the construction of the statue will start during the tenure of the BJP-led government.
Peeved, opposition members staged a walk-out.
The contract for constructing the ambitious memorial in the sea was given to Larsen & Toubro last week.