Gandhi, Shastri statues shackled in red tape

Gandhi, Shastri statues shackled in red tape

Gandhi, Shastri statues shackled in red tape

The installation of a bronze statue of Mahatma Gandhi between the Vidhana Soudha and the Vikasa Soudha is ridden with bureaucratic red tape.

While the Legislative Council passed a resolution to facilitate the installation, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms (DPAR) is sitting tight on the proposal.

Of course, the DPAR officials cannot be faulted. For, the budget for bringing to life the 16-ft statue is a whopping Rs 1 crore. Also, the artist who will ultimately set about the coveted task on the sculpture is yet to be picked.

Strangely, it’s not just the Mahatma statue that has put the government in such a piquant situation. Giving it company is the second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. For, it has been nearly a year since his statue found a pride of place on a high pedestal near the Vikasa Soudha, but it is draped in plastic sheets, awaiting a ceremonial unveiling.

Such has been the turn of things in recent times that statues have become the singular subject of controversy. One such bone of contention being that of the statue of the architect of the Indian Constitution, Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, whose shifting from in front of the Vidhana Soudha has turned into a veritable court battle between the Dalit outfits and the BMRCL, which is busy with its Namma Metro construction work.

Incidentally, the portals of the Vidhana Soudha, not houses one, but seven statues of eminent personalities -- Jawaharlal Nehru, B R Ambedkar, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Kengal Hanumanthaiah, S Nijalingappa, Jagajivanram and Devaraj Urs.

But with the administration of the twin Secretariat buildings vested with DPAR, the Public Works Departments (PWD) maintains them. Hence, without the express permission of the DPAR, no statue can be installed. For, the DPAR is following to the dot, the High Court diktat, which, while hearing a public interest litigation, had ruled that no statue should be installed in the vicinity of the Vidhana Soudha. Hence, the Shastri statue’s unveiling has remained suspended.

Council chairman D H Shankarmurthy said: “We are keen on going ahead with the Gandhi statue. I believe the BDA must have taken initiative to regarding the Shastri statue. We want the statue to be unveiled and also get permission to go ahead with Gandhi statue work. The DPAR says court permission is mandatory to install any statue. We have requested the department to get the required clearance from the court.”