A year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the proposed 210-metre tall statue of Maratha warrior king Shivaji Bhonsle off the Mumbai coast, the construction work for the project has been awarded to Mumbai-based Larsen & Toubro (L&T). According to sources, L&T, which had bid for the project, revised its bid downward from Rs 3,826 crore to Rs 2,500 crore. The other bidder in the race was AFCONS Infrastructure, a Shapoorji Pallonji Group company, which had bid Rs 4,760 crore. The letter of intent (LoI) is believed to have been issued to L&T on Thursday. An L&T spokesperson confirmed the development. According to Egis in India, the consultants for the project, the contract was awarded after negotiations with the bidders to optimise costs.
Ashish Tandon, MD, Egis in India, told FE, “We aim to start construction in May, before the onset of the monsoon or else we will lose another four months. The construction time could be around three years. The entire 7.8 hectares of land on which the statue is proposed to be built has to first be raised as it is only above the water level for a few hours daily. This is a very unique project. By 2019, the project will probably take some sort of shape that will be visible to people.” The site of the statue is roughly 1.5 km from the Raj Bhavan shore.
Once complete, the statue will be more than twice the height of the Statue of Liberty. The project had earlier drawn stiff resistance from environmentalists and fishermen who alleged that it would affect marine life and the ecology. However, the fishermen community withdrew their protests after Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis assured them their concerns would be addressed.