Union Minister Nitin Gadkari expressed his opposition to the use of government funds for erecting statues during a ground-breaking ceremony for the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj at the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University (RTMNU) in Nagpur. Gadkari emphasized the need for people to value and appreciate things they receive, stating that individuals do not value items given to them for free, as PTI reported
The event witnessed the presence of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Samiti, a committee formed in Nagpur in 2015 to oversee the construction of the statue. Gadkari lauded their decision to rely on contributions from the public for financing the project, acknowledging the significance of public ownership and attachment to such historical endeavors.
"I welcome the move of the committee, which is constructing the statue from the contribution given by the people. I feel that government funds should not be used for erecting the statue. People do not value things which are given for free," Gadkari, a Member of Parliament representing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), remarked during his speech at the ceremony.
To demonstrate his support, Gadkari announced his personal contribution of Rs 5 lakh towards the ongoing works undertaken by the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Smarak Samiti. He emphasized that even modest donations, such as Rs 11 or Rs 51, should be seen as individuals' strong attachment to the work and teachings of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, symbolizing their commitment to preserving his legacy.
In a bid to maintain the project's independence, Gadkari stressed that financial support need not be sought from the Nagpur Municipal Corporation, the Nagpur Improvement Trust, the Maharashtra government, or the RTMNU. He underlined the importance of individuals bearing some of the project's costs, allowing them to recognize the significance of the work or service being rendered.
Gadkari expressed his delight at the overwhelming response from the public, acknowledging the contributions made by countless individuals who have eagerly stepped forward to support the committee's efforts. This mass participation serves as a testament to the deep reverence and dedication of the people towards the construction of the statue.
The minister concluded by reiterating that the thoughts and teachings of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj should be disseminated throughout the nation, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. He emphasized the importance of spreading awareness about the principles and ideals embodied by Shivaji Maharaj, which continue to inspire and guide people across generations.