New Delhi: The Maharashtra Cabinet on Tuesday approved the allocation of Rs 100 crore for the construction of a memorial dedicated to Shiv Sena founder Bal Thackeray.
“Late Balasaheb Thackeray was not just leader of the Sena but a leader of this alliance,” said state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar. “Balasaheb will remain a person of high importance for all political parties. Therefore, in today’s Cabinet, Rs 100 crore has been approved for his memorial, which will inspire the youth.”
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority will provide the funds, he said.
The land earmarked in Mumbai for the memorial will be transferred by the city civic body to the trust set up to construct the structure at an event on January 23.
The Shiv Sena, a part of the state’s ruling coalition along with the Bharatiya Janata Party, has organised the event on the occasion of Bal Thackeray’s birth anniversary at the bungalow of the mayor of Mumbai.
The event is expected to be attended by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, mayor Vishwanath Mahadeshwar, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta and members of Balasaheb Thackeray Rashtriya Smarak Nyas, including BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, a source said.
Welcoming the cabinet’s decision, architect Shashi Prabhu, who is also a member of the trust, told PTI that the money would help in completing the project without any hassles. He said the civil work for the memorial’s construction is likely to start next month.
Some leaders want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be invited for the memorial’s ‘bhoomipujan‘, which is likely to be held by this month-end, the source added.
Located at Shivaji Park in Dadar area of central Mumbai, the land selected for the proposed memorial currently houses the bungalow of Mumbai mayor, which is a heritage site built in 1928 in an area. The prime sea-facing property, measuring around 11,500 sqm, was handed over to the Balasaheb Thackeray trust last year.
A civic official said since the memorial area comes under the coastal regulation zone, it will require approval from the environment ministry.
In 2015, Raj Thackeray, current Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s estranged cousin, called the Sena a party of “land grabbers”.
“The Sena have been eyeing the Mayor’s bungalow for a long time. They only want it in the name of Balasaheb. We cannot let this happen because selfish and personal interests are responsible for this decision.”