Slight change in location of Bal Thackeray statue

Mumbai: At the group leaders' meeting held in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation on Thursday, a proposal for the change of location of the statue of the late Shiv Sena founder and chief Bal Thackeray was moved. Instead of its earlier location in South Mumbai, at the triangular traffic junction opposite the Regal Cinema and Maharashtra Police Headquarters, it will now be located opposite the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum and the National Gallery of Modern Arts (NGMA).

The previous location had been fixed after getting clearances from the heritage committee and the state government, but now that the location has been changed, fresh permissions must be sought. “The proposal was tabled at the meeting of the group leaders and was approved unanimously by the members. The location of the statue has been slightly moved, for a clearer view than would have been possible at the earlier spot,” said Ravi Raja Congress group leader.

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is keen on inaugurating the 9-foot tall, bronze statue of Bal Thackeray on the latter's 94th birth anniversary on January 23. Work on the statue is almost complete.

The statue is being sculpted by Shashikant Wadke, a renowned architect of Kalanagar. Wadke faced many challenges in the making of the statue. “It was not an easy job, capturing the exact expression of Balasaheb as he addressed the masses at rallies,” said Wadke. The sculpture will stand on an 11-foot high square podium on a two-foot high landscaped portion.

Bal Thackeray passed away on November 17, 2012. After his demise, Yashodhar Phanse, the then chairman of the standing committee of the BMC, had proposed the construction of a statue of the Sena founder at a meeting of the group leaders in October 2015. The then mayor, Snehal Ambekar had approved the proposal and sent it to the then civic chief Ajoy Mehta, after which it was sent to the Maharashtra Archaeological Committee for approval.

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