To the Chief Justice,
Hon. High Court of Mumbai,
First, we’d like to say that we mean no disrespect to the memory of
Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who was a truly great and able King.
Having said that, we feel that the proposed statue/memorial to be
built in the image of this great and able King, estimated to cost
Rs.350 crores, is an unnecessary expense for the exchequer of the
Government of Maharashtra.
As we all know, there has been a vastly insufficient monsoon, and on
date, if we’re not mistaken, 27 districts in Maharashtra have been, or
will soon be declared drought-hit. Starving Maharashtrian farmers,
committing suicide has already been a matter of grave concern for the
Government of the state. Surely, these funds could be better utilised
saving some of these lives and livelihoods.
We also have, within Mumbai itself, a vast number of infrastructural
difficulties, that need huge investments to be sorted out. The rapidly
declining availability of potable water and usable power is a huge
problem, for example.
The roads in our financial capital are a national disgrace. We could
fix some of them.
We could certainly do with more schools/colleges, providing education
to the underprivileged at no cost. These could all be named in memory
of Chhatrapati Shivaji.
Another possible avenue for the use of surplus funds would be to
strengthen and better equip our Police Force and Coast Guard. In light
of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai last year, it is crucial to
strengthen these arms of Government, as our security and our lives
depend on them.
We have all studied the history of this great state. We are all
Mumbaikars and Maharashtrians, and the state would possibly not exist
in it’s current form without the far-reaching and visionary
administrative abilities of Chhatrapati Shivaji. Since the proposed
statue/memorial is in the name of a ruler famous for this
administrative ability, we owe it to his memory to ask if he himself
would approve of such wasteful expediture in a drought year,
especially when the city’s defences are not at full strength?
We’d also like to point out that in light of a track record of
consistent cost over-runs and delays leading to price escalations in
major construction projects undertaken by the Government, it is
unlikely that the amount to be spent towards such a project will
actually be limited to just Rs.350 Crores.
We, as concerned citizens of India and Maharashtra, and as Bombayites,
Mumbaikars, Bambaiwallahs, pray that such a monument be disallowed,
and the funds used for the benefit of the public, by taxing whom these
funds have been generated.
We also pray that, if after addressing
citizens-welfare/development/infrastructure issues, Maharashtra
actually has such surplus funding, it be handed to a committee of
eminent citizens who have by past action proved their concern for and
commitment to the greater good of the citizens of Mumbai. These
members may be selected at the discretion of the Hon. Court or by a
popular poll, as the Hon. Court sees fit.
Vishal M. Dadlani, and the undersigned.
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