After nearly eight years of being on the back burner, the long-anticipated proposal to construct a “Marathi Bhasha Bhavan” in Mumbai was finally approved by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackay on Tuesday.
The Bhavan will be built in the former Jawahar Bal Bhavan, Marine Drive. Construction work will begin in December and will end 18 months later.
Thackeray and Subhash Desai, Marathi Language Minister, saw a presentation by four top architects. The building would be on a 2,500 sq. mt plot. It would have an expo hall and conference rooms as well as a library and other facilities to promote Marathi.
The proposal was first proposed and then approved by the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party in 2013. It remained cold storage until the dissolution of the alliance regime.
Later, the BJP-led government assumed office in 2014 and 2016, Vinod Tawde, the minister at the time, had promised on the floor that the Bhavan would be complete within a few years. However, no progress was made.
In passing, however, the Congress-NCP government that was previously in power wanted to construct it in the abandoned Rang Bhavan, near Dhobi Talao. However, again, the proposal was blocked by silence zone restrictions and heritage clearances.
The BJP government was also faced with similar problems. It began looking for a suitable site in South Mumbai and in the suburbs. But before it could find a suitable spot, it was forced out of power. In November 2019, the Maha Vikas Akhadi government took control.
Finally, the plot of the project, which is dear to the ruling partners from Shiv Sena NCP-Congress was identified in July. The clearance for construction work came on Tuesday.
Official estimates suggest that the project will be completed well before the 2024 Assembly elections. This will give the three allies an impressive showpiece to use in the polls.