According to Anandraj Ambedkar, grandson of the man who drafted the Indian Constitution and leader of the Republican Sena, the Maharashtra government has decided to reduce the size of the statue in order to bring down its cost.
From a height of 350 feet, the statue will now stand at 250 height while the pedestal on which it is mounted will be 100 feet high, the state government informed the advisory committee that is part of the panel to construct the statue. “Not only have they reduced the size of the statue, the cost has increased from Rs 450 crores to Rs 750 crores,” Ambedkar told reporters.
Hinting at massive corruption in the project, Ambedkar called for an inquiry into the soaring cost of the project.
Under fire from Dalit leaders, Fadnavis said the construction of the memorials for Dr Ambedkar and Shivaji Maharaj would not stop for want of funds. “If necessary I am ready mortgage the whole of Maharashtra to build these memorials,” Fadnavis said earlier this week.
The Chief Minister’s remarks have, however, come in for attack from the Shiv Sena.
“More than one lakh crore rupees were deposited into the coffers of the government daily as fuel prices were increased every day. Even if Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 crore from these funds are given to Maharashtra we can build grand memorials for Ambedkar and Shivaji Maharaj,” Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamna said in an editorial today.
The newspaper noted that the reduction in the prices of petrol and diesel has come too late to help improve the condition of the common man. Instead, Saamna said, the BJP plans to use the money to win elections.