Almost six years after being removed from the southeastern lawns of Vidhana Soudha in Karnataka to facilitate construction on the Bengaluru Metro Rail, a two-meter statue of Jawaharlal Nehru was re-erected on June 26 to assure the opposition congress last year that the statue will soon be put up again in a suitable location.
Malshish, Assistant Executive Engineer, Karnataka Public Works Department, speaks to The Indian Express.
1. Why was the statue moved?
In 2016, the Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) reached out to the Public Works Department (PWD) to temporarily move the statue to begin underground construction. As the work involved a lot of structural disruption and could have damaged the statue, it was postponed.
2. Where was the statue taken?
By order of the government, the statue was moved to the rose garden next to the large steps of Vidhana Soudha. The statue, made of black stone, was wrapped in a gunny sack and white cloth. The PWD department was responsible for maintenance. The statue was cleaned every week by the PWD department staff and was tightly packed so that no one would touch the statue to avoid damage to the statue.
3. How was the statue put back up?
On June 26th, work began on re-erecting the statue in the southeastern lawns of Vidhana Soudha. The reinstallation took a day and a half and required coordination with the BMRCL and other departments. The statue was covered with a layer of dried grass and then tied with a cloth to prevent external damage while it was being moved. We have taken all possible security measures as people are sensitive to the statue. We used a crane to install the statue on the pedestal in its original location. We had obtained a lot of technical advice from experts because if the crane was off balance for even a second, the entire statue would have been damaged.
4. How was the planning for the expansion and the new installation?
Since both the removal and the reinstallation were complex tasks, especially since it was a base, we called in experts at all levels. The experts include the engineering team in the PWD department who had experience shifting other laws. A total of around 25 people from the department were there to re-erect the statue. The restoration required months of planning. Fortunately, we had an experienced team that had already done similar work on the Ambedkar statue. While the PWD department was responsible for the relocation, BMRCL provided the funds for it.
5. Were other statues moved from the site for the construction?
Aside from the statue of Jawaharlal Nehru, the statues of Subhas Chandra Bose and BR Ambedkar have also been moved to facilitate the construction of the Vidhana Soudha subway station. A few years ago the Ambedkar statue was put up again; the Bose statue has not been moved back yet.