- Project will have a 125-feet tall statue of Mother Cauvery near a dam
- The project worth Rs 1,200 crore will require about 400 acres of land
- Cabinet says it aims to make a tourist destination and generate revenues
The Karnataka government is now among those to have entered the statue race as it plans to install a 125 feet tall one of Mother Cauvery near the Krishnarajasagara Dam on Cauvery River in Mandya district.
The project, estimated to cost around Rs 1,200 crore, will require about 400 acres of land and is expected to be ready after two years.
The project is being taken up by the water resources and tourism ministries in a bid to increase tourism.
Irrigation minister DK Shivakumar said, "We are just coming up with an amusement park for tourism, like Disneyland. Mysore is a destination for tourism. There is the famous Brindavan Garden and we want to enrich it. We want the world to look at it.
The proposal comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the world's tallest statue in Gujarat last month. The nearly 600-foot long Statue of Unity, costing Rs 2,989 crore, was built in honour of freedom fighter and India's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Mr Shivakumar, however, said their project is in no way connected to Gujarat's Statue of Unity.
He said the proposal (for the statue) suggests that water will pour from Goddess Cauvery and there will be a place for people to watch from a tower. "It is (like) a tower," he added.
"Architects who have done such projects around the country have given a proposal. It is just a concept. We are not investing any money for any statue or involving any government funds for this. The land is ours and it is public-private participation where we are asking investors to come and invest," he said.
The irrigation minister said the aim of the project is to create a tourist destination and generate revenues for the government as well as employment opportunities.
"We will do it in a transparent way. We placed it before the Assembly in the budget," he added.
Public opinion is, however, mixed on the issue.
A resident, Suresh, told NDTV: "It is unnecessary. There is health and education and there is no use in making statues."
Another resident, Siddappa G, said: "It is a good thing. We should have something like this in Bangalore also. It will encourage tourism."
The Cauvery River is a lifeline for much of southern Karnataka. However, a water sharing dispute has been a bone of contention between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu since the time of the British Raj. Many of the districts in both states are dependent on Cauvery for irrigation, while Bengaluru gets its water from the river.