The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) has announced a public hearing on 31 January regarding the proposed Pen Statue to be built in memory of former chief minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party president, M Karunanidhi.
The Pen Statue would be 42 metres tall. It would be built in the sea at a distance of 360 metres from the coast and would be accessible from the existing Karunanidhi memorial near Marina Beach in Chennai through a bridge.
It is expected to cost the state exchequer around Rs 80 crore.
While the total project area would cover 8,551.13 square metres, about 2,263 square metres of sea area would have to be reclaimed for building the monument.
While supporters of the DMK say that the Pen Statue would be a fitting tribute to Karunanidhi who was a cinema scriptwriter and emphasised education and rationality, there are many who oppose the project.
Environmental activists say that the project site is a prime fishing ground and the land reclamation required for the project could damage the coastline.
Poovulagin Nanbargal, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that works for environmental protection, says that the Statue could instead be built on land within the already existing Karunanidhi memorial.
CTR Nirmal Kumar, the head of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) social media wing took a swipe at the DMK's 'rationality' regarding the Statue.
He said that 'while the DMK questions people's rationality for keeping an eight rupee pen at the feet of the Goddess on Saraswati Puja day for her blessings, the same DMK has forgotten all rationality and decided to construct a Rs 80 crore Pen Statue and worship it.'
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