The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to raise the height of the proposed statue of BR Ambedkar at the Indu Mills compound in Mumbai by 100 feet and cleared the revised expenditure of Rs 1089.95 crore for the project.
Other prominent decisions taken by the Cabinet included naming the Eastern Freeway in Mumbai after late chief minister and Congress leader Vilasrao Deshmukh, and a proposed agriculture business and rural transformation project after Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.
While the height of the pedestal of the upcoming memorial will remain the same at 100 feet, the height of the statue will be raised to 350 feet from the initially decided 250 feet, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.
"The Cabinet has approved the proposal to increase the height of the bronze statue and pedestal from 350 feet to 450 feet. The cabinet also gave a go-ahead to the revised expenditure of Rs 1089.95 crore for the project from the current Rs 700 crore," he told reporters. Mr Pawar, who holds the Finance portfolio, said the project will be completed in the next two years.
"The proposed structure includes a library, a research centre and an auditorium with the total capacity of 1000, apart from the statue," he said.
He said necessary permissions for the project will be secured in the next eight days. The Social Justice department will be part of monitoring the project," Mr Pawar added.
He said the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) will be the nodal agency for the project and no Central permission is required to begin construction of the memorial.
It can be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the memorial in October 2015.
Mr Pawar also said the Cabinet discussed the "Mumbai Eye" project on the lines of the London Eye, near the Bandra-Worli sea link if there are no CRZ issues.
Mumbaikars could get a vantage view of the city from high in the sky through the Mumbai Eye.
Meanwhile, the cabinet also decided to promulgate an ordinance to change the multi-member ward system for municipal councils to single-member wards, the Dy CM said. A Cabinet sub-committee will be formed for effective implementation of the crop insurance scheme across 10 districts where insurance companies were not nominated during the Rabi (winter crop) season 2019, he added.
A presentation on the Maharashtra State Agriculture Business and Rural Transformation (SMART) project which envisages all-round development of agriculture and allied businesses was made during the meeting.
An amount of Rs 2100 crore will be invested in the project with the assistance from the World Bank.
"The World Bank loan share will be Rs 1470 crore while the contribution of the state government will be Rs 560 crore and the CSR Rs 70 crore. The project will be implemented over seven years," Mr Pawar said.
He said the SMART project will be named after Bal Thackeray.
"The project includes creating infrastructure facilities for marketing of agriculture produce, upgrading auction facility for produce at the APMCs, setting up of market facilitation centres, among others," Mr Pawar added.