To avoid any controversy over the installation of a statue of Sambhaji, son of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, which has already been built as per its work order, the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration has sought the permission of its elected representatives to submit a proposal with the District Statue Committee, which will give the final approval for the installation. The civic body plans to install the statue at Sambhaji Park in Shivajingar.
The proposal to make a statue, on the basis of a picture in Budhbhusan, a book written by Sambhaji himself, was presented by Member of Legislative Council Anil Bhosale years ago. The plan was approved by the district administration in August 2014 and the City Improvement Committee of PMC approved the proposal in June 2015.
After the tender process was over, a work order was issued in December 2017. The project even received the go ahead from the Art Directorate of the state government in June that year. However, a month before the Directorate's nod, the state government decided that any new statue needs be approved by the statue committee, headed by the collector of the respective district.
Municipal Commissioner Saurabh Rao said as per the state government's directions, the PMC needs to submit its application for installation of the statue to the District Statue Committee, along with the resolution passed by the civic body. The civic body has made a budgetary provision of Rs 30 lakh in 2018-19 for the installation of the statue.
When the PMC had sought permission from the District Statue Committee, the district administration had asked the civic body to seek the permission of the PMC's General Body first.
"It is requested that the City Improvement Committee and General Body of the PMC pass a resolution for the installation of the bronze statue of Sambhaji at Sambhaji Park, so that it can be submitted with the application to the statue committee…," said Rao. The proposal was approved by the City Improvement Committee on Friday and it will now be tabled in the General body meeting.
Garden Superintendent Ashok Ghorpade said the PMC had completed the tender process in 2017 and the statue has already been built. "Final touches are being given to the statue and the PMC is only waiting to complete the administrative process for the installation of the statue," he said.
Pune has seen its share of controversies over statues. In January 2017, a statue of noted Marathi playwright and humourist late Ram Ganesh Gadkari, installed at the Sambhaji Park, was vandalised by youths belonging to a pro-Maratha group.The youths threw the bust in Mutha river after vandalising the statue, alleging that Chhatrapati Shivaji's son was projected in a poor light in one of Gadkari's plays.