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Bihar

Contradictory views put a question mark on Shivaji memorial L&T and IIT-B don’t agree on rock composition

September 30, 2018 06:14 AM

COURTESY MIRROR SEPT 30

Contradictory views put a question mark on Shivaji memorial
L&T and IIT-B don’t agree on rock composition
Public Works Department writes to IIT-B asking it to explain the discrepancy
| Tariq.Engineer@timesgroup.com
TWEETS @MumbaiMirror

The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Memorial in the Arabian Sea has suffered a setback even before its construction could begin.

In a letter dated September 24, the Public Works Department has asked the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT-Bombay to explain why there are differences in the analyses of the rock strata at the site conducted by the institute and Larsen & Toubro, the company that has won the Rs 2,500-crore tender to build the statue.


“It is requested to note that the subject work at the project site cannot be commenced unless and until this crucial issue of disparity found in rock strata in IIT-B report and M/s. L&T Ltd report is resolved at an early date,” the letter says.

In the IIT-B report, the different layers of soil and rock extending to a depth of 30 meters is as follows: boulders, breccia, marine soil, slate, fractured basalt and compact basalt. However, the L&T report found that the rock at the site was made up mainly of volcanic tuff mixed in with shale, which is weaker than compact basalt and therefore would not be able to handle as much weight.

“M/s L&T has reported that they don’t find much similarity in their report and the available IIT-B report of 30 meter bore depth floated in the tender,” the letter adds.

When Mumbai Mirror spoke to Rajesh Bhogle, the executive engineer of the CSMM project divison, whose signature is on the letter, he referred us to Egis India Consulting Engineers, the consultants for the project. However, Bhaskar Reddy, the team leader on the project, declined to comment for the story.

The PWD has also asked IIT-B to provide two other reports which were prepared by Professor TN Singh but which “were not traceable”.

In the letter, PWD says that they contacted Professor Singh, who is on long leave from IIT-B, but he expressed his inability to provide duplicate copies of the reports.

The government had paid Rs 2.4 crore for the reports from IIT-B. The institute was commissioned to evaluate whether the proposed project site was suitable for the construction of what will one day be the world’s tallest statue at 696 ft.

The discrepancies in the two reports were discovered by APLI Mumbai, a citizen’s forum that is focused on regenerating Mumbai’s port lands. I C Rao, the president of APLI Mumbai, obtained copies of the geotechnical reports through an RTI request.

Rao also listed a number of other issues with the project as well. He claimed that in its proposed location, the statue would be inaccessible for three months of the year because of the monsoon.

“No boat can reach that point. They will be bashed to pieces,” he said.

He also raised doubts about the structural integrity of the sword, which has been lengthened from 38m to 45.5m.

“[It] is disproportionate to the rest of the statue. It will look ugly and it will be dangerous. In a cyclone, you cannot have a 45m sword thrust at a height of 210 m.”

The expected lifespan of the statue – to be located facing Girgaum chowpatty beach,1.5 km into the sea on a manmade island of rocks – has also been reduced from 300 years to 100 years, in order to reduce the overall cost of the project. “This is irresponsible because it means you are reducing factors of safety,” Rao said.

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