Maharashtra govt to begin construction of Marathi Bhasha Bhavan in December

Months after allotting the land at Marine Drive, the state government will begin the construction of the Marathi Bhasha Bhavan from December 2021 and it is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. The decision was taken in a review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday.

The move assumes significance as the Shiv Sena-led government has fast-tracked the proposal ahead of the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and other local bodies polls in which it is likely to play the Marathi card. While the construction of the project will begin in December 2021, the polls for the BMC and other municipal corporations and zilla parishads will be held early next year.

Officials said the Marathi Bhasha Bhavan Main Centre is proposed on the free plot of the sea-facing Jawahar Bal Bhavan at Marine Drive. Bids were invited to select the architect and four architects made the presentation during the meeting, said an official.

The official said the Bhavan has been proposed to bring Marathi language department’s four offices that conduct several programmes related to language and literature development under one roof for the better coordination Subhash Desai, Shiv Sena leader and Marathi Language Minister, said the government has transferred a plot of 2,500 square metres to the department for the construction of the Bhavan. “Construction will begin in December 2021 and it will be opened in the next 18 months,” said Desai.

For the project, the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), which is headed by Desai as Industries Minister, has been selected as the implementing agency instead of the Public Works Department, which is headed by Congress minister Ashok Chavan.

The proposal was first mooted by the Congress-NCP government in 2013. Initially, it was proposed to be built at Rang Bhavan near Dhobi Talao but the plan was dropped following objections from the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee.

In July, the Maharashtra legislature passed the Bill amending the Maharashtra Official Language Act 1964 for the effective use of the Marathi language in administrative work in all government offices. In February last year, a Bill was passed in the state legislature making the Marathi language a compulsory subject from Class I to X in the schools of all boards.

Shiv Sena leaders said the Thackeray-led government has taken multiple decisions for the Marathi language and its development. “It shows that the Sena has a commitment to Marathi and doesn’t do lip service to it. Obviously, these decisions will benefit the party in the polls as it has taken decisions that have not been taken by previous governments,” said a Sena leader.

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