MUMBAI: BMC on Sunday placed Shiv Sena founder, the late Bal Thackeray’s statue at a traffic island on M G Road at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Chowk in Colaba. While it is wrapped for now, officials said that some work was still pending before it is inaugurated. Some residents have opposed the installation, citing a 2013 Supreme Court order, which states that no statues must be installed on public roads.
Vice admiral (rtd) I C Rao, president of Apli Mumbai, an NGO, said residents had opposed it in December 2019. “There is a 2013 SC order which states that no statues can be installed on public roads. The safety of pedestrians is affected, and when there are events when the statue will be garlanded, the road will be closed. Ours is a safety issue and not political. There will be hundreds of people taking selfies and it will create a traffic problem. There is no space on the traffic island,” Rao said.
Rao said the SC ruling came when the Kerala government wanted to install a statue of the late N Sundaran Nadar, former deputy speaker of Kerala legislative assembly on a traffic island. It applies to all states and Union Territories.
Mumbai collector (city) Rajiv Nivatkar said he will seek more information on the issue.
Shiv Sena corporator Yashwant Jadhav, who heads the civic standing committee, said, “Balasaheb Thackeray’s sacrifice for Mumbai is unparalleled. So everyone wants a tribute fit for him. The island previously selected was too small. At the current location there is enough space for people to step in and pay homage to Balasaheb. All relevant permission is in place. No Mumbaikar will oppose Balasaheb’s statue. Those opposing it are being used for political motives,” Jadhav said.
BMC officials said they had taken permission from Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) and other authorities. Additional municipal commissioner (city) Sanjeev Jaiswal did not respond to a query from TOI.
BJP corporator from Colaba, Makrand Narvekar, said the statue should be installed in accordance with rules and no court orders must be violated.