Barely two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi performed the 'jal-pooja' for the proposed Shivaji Memorial in the Arabian Sea, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray on Monday demanded to know how it will be financed.Speaking to mediapersons here this afternoon, Thackeray said the state government has announced it will cost some Rs 3,600 crore for the grand memorial with a tall statue of the great Maratha warrior in the sea off the Mumbai shoreline."Where is the money for this going to come from? Do they have the money for the project? In the past, they have made many similar announcements, but funds never came," he said.He suggested that instead, the money could be better utilised for the development and maintenance of the scores of forts and palaces in Maharashtra, many built during the reign of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
This had been a long-standing demand of the MNS.Thackeray alleged that Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis merely keeps making such announcements, but the money never comes.He said so far many statues and memorials have come up but these alone don't bring "Shiv Shahi" and labelled a political stunt keeping in mind the upcoming civic elections in the state.The proposed world-class memorial is expected to come up on a reclaimed islet of around 16 acres in the Arabian Sea, around 1.5 kms from the Marine Drive in south Mumbai.The project is expected to boost tourism to the state besides giving it an iconic monument on the line of the Statue of Liberty in New York or Eiffel Tower in Paris.