As the State government fights hard to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, opposition Congress and the ruling BJP are embroiled in a slugfest over the proposed 120-foot statue of Swami Vivekananda near Anekal. The plan of the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) to build a statue at Muthyala Maduvu waterfalls in Pearl Valley near Anekal, around 40 km from Bengaluru, has come under criticism from the Congress, which has questioned the timing and the government’s priorities as the state is facing a health crisis.
Housing Minister V Somanna, however, dismissed the opposition charges, saying it is not a new project and has been in the pipeline for several years. “It is an old plan and the government or the KHB will not spend a single rupee on it. This will be taken up as part of the KHB layout development plan to develop the place as a tourist attraction,” the minister said.
KHB, which comes under the administrative control of the housing department, is developing a layout with 30,000 sites and the proposed project, which is still in the planning stage will be taken up as part of the layout development, he said. “What is wrong in having Swami Vivekananda’s statue or developing the place as a tourist attraction? This was planned much before the health crisis hit us,” the minister said.
Its detailed project report is yet to be prepared.
KPCC president D K Shivakumar said his party has no objection to the proposed statue, but it is only questioning the timing.“This is not the time for a statue. Let the government devote all its strength and resources for fighting the pandemic and later you can build the statue,” he said adding that his party has a lot of respect for Swami Vivekananda. “The BJP government has a different agenda,” he added.