Cost-cutting on Shivaji memorial raises safety fears
Corners Cut On Area, Reclamation Height, Seawall
Mumbai: The state government’s manoeuvring to reduce spending on the proposed mid-sea Shivaji memorial (pic) has come at a cost: several critical features of the project, such as the height of reclamation as well as the seawall, have been downsized, raising fears of durability, functionality and safety, say experts.
While the lowest bidder, L&T, brought down the quote by a quarter, the Maharashtra government reduced the project area by around 35% before the agreement was signed. The memorial will now come up on a 6.8 hectare man-made isle, instead of 10.6 hectares as proposed earlier, shows the ‘cost optimisation’ report prepared by the state-appointed consultant for the project— TOI has a copy of the report.
The proposed reclamation level of the island was to be 10.5 metres from sea level, now the height has been redesigned to be 9.5 metres. “The reduction of height will increase the risk of flooding,” said IC Rao, Vice Admiral (retd) of APLI Mumbai, a citizens group protesting the Arabian sea-site for the memorial.
The 2015 National Crime Records Bureau report on accidental deaths and suicides stated that around 1.5% of a total 4.6 lakh road accidents in the country were due to driving under the influence of drug or alcohol, which left a total of 6,295 injured. The report further stated that more than 18 deaths occured due to drunk driving in the country every day.
In order to ensure that those who purchase liquor online meet the required age criteria, minister Bawankule said sellers would be directed to take down complete details of customers, including Aadhaar numbers, to verify their identities. “We will also check their drinking permit numbers. I am very positive about the project, which has many advantages.”
The minister said the department is in the final stages of geo-tagging liquor bottles to keep track of their manufactu- re and sale. “The tagging will be done on a bottle’s cap. With this, we will be able to track the bottle right from the manufacturer till it reaches the consumer. This will help curb the sale of spurious liquor as well as smuggling,” he said.
Lauding the government’s move, high court lawyer Shreerang Bhandarkar said this trend is prevalent in western countries. “It started in Germany and others followed.”
Activist Paromita Goswami, who led the fight to implement total prohibition in Chandrapur district, though, termed the move as “unconstitutional”. She said, “Article 47 of the Constitution clearly prohibits sale of intoxicating drinks which may lead to injuries or death. The government should rethink the move, which may increase liquor addiction in the state. It should, instead, repeal Maharashtra Prohibition Act.”