Congress NCP allege scam in construction of Shivaji statue; question Maharashtra govt

shivaji

The grand Shivaji statue, touted to be the tallest in the world, has been an election issue and featured in manifestos of political parties since 2009.

Mumbai: On Tuesday Congress and NCP alleged corruption in the tendering process of Shiv Smarak (statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji), the project. The parties have asked Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to come clean by disclosing all relevant details.

In a joint media briefing, Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant and NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik said that the state government had promised that a Shivaji Maharaj memorial would be constructed in the Arabian Sea, off Mumbai coast. Tenders for the project were issued in 2017. The Larsen and Toubro submitted a bid of Rs 3,826 crore for the project. As per the tender documents, the height of the memorial was to be 121.2 meters of which 83.2 meters was the statue and 37 meters was the sword.

The state government brought down the project cost to Rs 2,500 crore by negotiating with Larsen and Toubro which was in violation of the guidelines set by the central vigilance commission that tender value can not be negotiated.

Also Read: CM Fadnavis should not be ‘scared’ of PM Modi, Amit Shah over the height of Shivaji’s statue: Shiv Sena

The monument is currently under construction and the statue will be located in the Arabian Sea, Mumbai, Maharashtra. Shivaji Maharaj Memorial has been playing major role in Maharashtra politics for more than a decade now. The grand statue, touted to be the tallest in the world, has been an election issue and featured in manifestos of political parties since 2009.

But now, as the memorial work gains momentum after the tenders were awarded, the Congress and NCP have alleged a Rs 1,300 crore scam. The Congress and NCP have made an allegation citing letters by two officials from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial Project division.

In an office note submitted on June 2018, Senior Divisional Accounts Officer Sanjeev Kumar Singh has alleged improper regularities and violation of Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) guidelines while awarding contracts.

Sanjeev Kumar Singh, in his letter, has changed in various tender conditions and clauses of the original tender which are objectionable by audit and violation of Maharashtra Public Works (MPW) manual and CVC guidelines.

Singh has also said that if the lowest rate of the bidder was not feasible and justified, tender might have been recalled for more competitive rates.

The Larsen & Toubro (L&T) had submitted the bid for Rs 3,826 crore in this project. After negotiating with L&T, the BJP-led government in Maharashtra had brought down the cost to Rs 2,500 crore, which is now being objected strongly by opposition parties.

There were controversies and opposition to the memorial earlier as well. In 2017 MNS Cheif Raj Thackeray stated that money could be used for the development and maintenance of the forts and palaces in Maharashtra and even the fishing community and environmentalists claimed this project could affect the city’s livelihood.


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