Statue of Unity
|Statue of Unity
एकता की प्रतिमा
The tallest statue to be built
|Location||Sadhu bet, Near Sardar Sarovar Dam, Gujarat, India|
|Material||Steel framing, reinforced cement concrete, bronze coating|
|Beginning date||31 October 2013|
|Dedicated to||Sardar Patel|
The Statue of Unity is a planned 182 metres (597 ft) monument of Vallabhbhai Patel that will be created directly facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Vadodara in Gujarat. It would be the world's tallest statue. As part of the proformaa bridge collapsedthe statue on Sadhu island to the bank, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes will also be constructed. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Gujarat government for construction of the statue.
The project was first announced on October 7, 2010. The total height of the statue from its base will be 240 metre consisting base level of 58 metre and statue of 182 metre. It will be constructed with steel framing, reinforced cement concrete and bronze coating.
A consortium of Turner Construction (consultant of Burj Khalifa), Michael Graves and Associates and Meinhardt Group, will supervise the project. It will take 56 months to complete the project, 15 months for planning, 40 months for construction and two months for handing over by the consortium. The entire project (the statue and other buildings including the memorial, visitor centre, garden, hotel, convention centre, amusement park and research institute) would cost about 25 billion (US$410 million). The first phase of the project, including construction of the main statue, a bridge connecting the statue to the river bank and reconstruction of the 12 km road along the river banks is estimated to cost 20.63 billion (US$340 million). Tender bids for the first phase are already invited as of October 2013. Last date for submission of tender was November 30, 2013.
The then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi, (currently Prime Minister of India) laid the foundation stone of statue on 31 October 2013, the 138th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. He along with L. K. Advani announced to the public that after completion of the project, it will be the tallest statue of the world. The construction started on January 26, 2014. Joe Menna, an American digital sculptor, will design the statue.
The iron needed for the statue and other structures was to be collected from farmers of villages all around India in a form of donation of their used farming instruments. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust set up 36 offices across India to collect these iron instruments wherein over 500,000 Indian farmers are expected to donate. 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, over 5000 metric tonnes of iron were intended to be collected Although it was initially announced that the iron collected will be used for the main statue, it later emerged that the collected iron will not be used in construction of the actual statue and will instead be used for some other part of the project.
The Statue of Unity Movement will also organize a Suraaj ( good governance in Hindi) petition wherein people can write about their ideas for the good governance. The Suraaj Petition is expected to be signed by an estimated 20 million people, which will make it the world's largest petition signed. A marathon entitled Run For Unity was held on December 15, 2013 in several places throughout India. The marathon had a large turnout and sign-ups before the event reported thousands of registrations. The Government of Gujarat has allotted Rs 100 crore for the project in the budget for 2012-13. In 2014-15 state budget Government of Gujarat has allotted an extra Rs 500 crore for the project.  This brings total financial commitment from government (state and central) to Rs 800 crore.
Some local people have opposed land acquisition for tourism infrastructure development around the statue. They also claimed that Sadhu bet was originally called Varata Bawa Tekri, named after a local deity and so it was a site of religious importance.
Environmental activists wrote a letter to central government that this project started implementation without environmental clearance from the ministry. 
People of Kevadia, Kothi, Waghodia, Limbdi, Navagam and Gora villages opposed the construction of the statue demanding back land rights of formerly acquired 927 acres of land for dam and the formation of Garudeshwar taluka. They also opposed formation of Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA) and the construction of Garudeshwar weir-cum-causeway project. Government of Gujarat accepted their demands.
Criticism of expenditure
The media had reported that many people were unhappy with the 2 billion (US$33 million) allocated for the statue in the 2014-15 Union budget. It was reported that people felt that India had many other urgent priorities. The budget included lesser financial allocation for some greater necessities such as 1.5 billion (US$25 million) for women's safety, 1 billion (US$16 million) for the education of young girls, agricultural schemes, etc.
An outrage had spread over the social media websites. A large number of civilians as well as various political party leaders criticised the huge budget allocated for the statue rather than for other serious issues.
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