Whenever we think about Mahatma Gandhi, the first thing that comes to our mind is ‘Non-violence’. Similarly, when we take the name of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, what we recall is the word ‘Iron Man’. The project of building world’s tallest statue of the ‘Iron Man’ in Gujarat has been declared as a ‘National Project’ in the union budget 2014-15. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was a versatile leader and the only one who united the various kingdoms of India at the time when country was struggling for independence and subsequent integration. That’s the reason why Government of India has decided to celebrate Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary on October 31 as ‘National Unity Day’.
Statue of Unity: an Icon of India
If we see Indian history then one can find that Indian culture has a quite unique trait i.e. Unity in diversity. In India after every 100 kms, language and culture vary but inspite of that every community acts as one. The ‘Statue of Unity’ is a dream project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It symbolizes Patel’s impeccable work of uniting the disintegrated groups of nearly 565 princely states after the independence and building the Indian State.
An Iconic 182 meters Statue, a tribute to the Iron Man of India, is to be built at the Sadhu Island, approximately 3.5kms south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat. It stands as a tribute to the Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in uniting India after the bloody and painful partition. The Sardar’s 182 meters high first of its kind statue will undoubtedly lead to development of tourism and inflow from all across the globe.
“This huge construction work will be completed in four years at a cost of Rs 2,979 crore. The contract has been given to the country’s leading construction company Larsen and Toubro”, said Gujarat Chief Minister Smt. Anandiben Patel. Rs 1347 crore will be spent on the main statue, Rs 235 crore will be spent on the exhibition hall and convention centre, while Rs 83 crore will be spent on the bridge connecting the memorial to the main land and Rs 657 crore would be spent to maintain the structure until 15 years after it is completed. The 182-metre-tall ‘Statue of Unity’, which would be double the size of New York’s ‘Statue of Liberty’ (93 metres), would inspire future generations. The project will include an exhibition hall and audio- visual presentation on the life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which will become the centre of attraction for tourists from the all over the world. 75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 metric tonne of steel structure, 18,500 steel rods and 22,500 metric tonne of bronze will be used for the project.
The proposed height of the world’s biggest statue is almost double the height of New York’s world famous ‘Statue of Liberty’ and five times higher than the Rio de Janeiro’s statue of Christ, the Redeemer. It will even be taller than the Sardar Sarovar dam. The ‘Statue of Unity’ is being built not only to remember India’s freedom struggle but also to inculcate Sardar Patels’s visionary ideology of unity, patriotism, inclusive growth and good governance.
The project was launched by the former Gujarat Chief Minister and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2013, on Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary. The iron needed for the statue and other structures was collected from farmers of villages all around India in the form of donation of their used farming instruments. The drive was named the ‘Statue of Unity movement’. There was to be three-month-long nationwide campaign to collect iron pieces from six lakh villages to build the statue. During this period, many events were organised for campaign such as Marathon –“Run for unity” in various parts of India.
This monument will not just be a mute memorial like the rest, but a fully functional, purpose-serving tribute that will spur all round socio-economic development, in the form of better connectivity, healthcare & education infrastructure, research centre for agriculture development and various tribal development initiatives. The main themes and pillars associated with the monument will be Livelihood Generation, Tribal Development, Research & Education, Social Infrastructure, Employment Generation and Environment Protection.
The engineering and designing at the project site will consist the following activities in and around the Statue:
- World’s best Exhibition which itself narrate the story of Indian National Movement and Sardar’s contribution
- Memorial Garden
- Bridge connecting Sadhu Island with the mainland
- Improved Roadway between the Statue and Kevadia
- Development of banks of River Narmada up to Bharuch
- Development of road & rail, and tourism infrastructure
- Schools, colleges and universities for tribal development
- Education Research Centre and Knowledge City
- Tourism corridor from Garudeshwar to Bhadbhut
- Clean Technology Research Park & Agriculture Training Centers
Although the project has been criticized in some quarters as wastage of resources and money but if the purpose behind the project gets served then it will certainly emerge as a modern centre for development for our country.
Post by – Rajkaran Sharma