The Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), which has installed sculptures across the city as part of a project to beautify prominent chowks or squares, has decided to keep them all covered up till their formal inauguration, officials said. So far, the civic body has installed sculptures at nine of the 15 chowks selected under the project.
A team of artists has been roped in from across the country to make the sculptures using scrap material. PCMC executive engineer Prerna Sinkar told The Indian Express, “The sculptures will not be of famous personalities, monuments or structures. They will be of horses, lions, cheetahs… We have already installed them and have covered them with cloth. During his tenure, former municipal commissioner Rajesh Patil had directed that the sculptures should be covered up until they are inaugurated.”
The sculptures were initially meant to be inaugurated in June by then deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, but the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state collapsed that month and the new government took over, delaying the inauguration. “We were supposed to inaugurate at least four sculptures initially, but it got delayed due to the change in government. In the meantime, we increased the scope of the project by deciding to beautify the area around the sculpture,” Sinkar said.
Officials said the new municipal commissioner Shekhar Singh will soon take a decision on the matter.
One of the sculptures has been installed at Nashik Phata Chowk. “People want to have a sneak peek at the sculpture… Some of those who pass by the area are seen approaching the covered figure,” says Prajakata Kale, a local resident.
“The entire beautification of the sculpture and its surrounding area will be done by private parties. We have appointed 15 private parties, majority of whom are builders. They have been asked to beautify the project on a BOT ( Build-Operate-Transfer) basis. PCMC will not have to pay anything to the builder. They will look after the project for 10 years. In return, the builders will get to advertise themselves, but we will decide the size of the advertisement,” executive engineer Sinkar added.
Pramod Ombase, another civic executive engineer, said, “The scrap material to build the sculptures comes primarily from our anti-encroachment department which carries out confiscation activities. Some of the scrap comes from our own projects. Only when the entire project is completed will we decide on the inauguration.”
Civic officials said each sculpture will cost over Rs 2 lakh. “The PCMC will incur expenses only for constructing the sculpture and its foundation, which will be about Rs 2-3 lakh per sculpture. Private parties will beautify the surrounding area and maintain the entire project for 10 years,” an official said.