Statue of Unity
The statue as viewed on 31 October 2018
|Location||Kevadiya colony, Narmada district, Gujarat, India|
|Designer||Ram V. Sutar|
|Material||Steel framing, reinforced concrete, bronze cladding|
|Beginning date||31 October 2013|
|Opening date||31 October 2018|
|Dedicated to||Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel|
The Statue of Unity is a statue of Indian statesman and founding father, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1875–1950) in the state of Gujarat, India. It is the world's tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 ft). It is located on a river island facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada in Kevadiya colony, 100 kilometres (62 mi) southeast of the city of Vadodara.
The monument and its surroundings occupy more than 2 hectares (4.9 acres), and are surrounded by a 12 km (7.5 mi) long artificial lake. It was built by Larsen & Toubro, who received the contract for ₹2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance in October 2014. The construction was started on 31 October 2014 and completed in mid-October 2018. It was designed by Indian sculptor Ram V. Sutar, and was dedicated by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 31 October 2018, the 143rd anniversary of Patel's birth.
Design and construction
Origin and outreach
Narendra Modi first announced the project to commemorate Sardar Vallabhai Patel on 7 October 2010 at a press conference to mark the beginning of his 10th year as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. At the time, the project was dubbed, "Gujarat's tribute to the nation". A special purpose vehicle named the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) was constituted by the Gujarat government for executing the project.
A drive named the Statue of Unity Movement was started to support the construction of the statue. It helped collect the iron needed for the statue by asking Indian farmers to donate their used farming instruments. Ultimately, 5000 tonnes of iron were collected. Although it was initially intended for the statue, it was later decided that the collected iron would instead be used for other parts of the project.
The Statue of Unity Movement organised a Suraaj ("good governance" in Hindi) petition which was signed by an estimated 20 million people, which was the world's largest petition.[unreliable source?] A marathon entitled Run For Unity was held on 15 December 2013 in Surat in support of the project.
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The statue depicts Vallabhbhai Patel, one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement, the first Deputy Prime Minister of India, and responsible for the unification of hundreds of princely states to form the modern political boundary of India.
After studying numerous statues of Patel across the country, a team of historians, artists, and academics chose to proceed with a design submitted by the Indian sculptor, Ram V. Sutar.[a] The Statue of Unity is a much larger replica of a statue of the leader installed at Ahmedabad International Airport. Commenting on the design, Ram Sutar's son, Anil Sutar explains that "the expression, posture and pose justify the dignity, confidence, iron will as well as kindness that his persona exudes. The head is up, a shawl flung from shoulders and hands are on the side as if he is set to walk". Three models of the design measuring 3 feet (0.91 m), 18 feet (5.5 m), and 30 feet (9.1 m) were initially created. Once the design of the largest model was approved, a detailed 3D-scan was produced which formed the basis for the bronze cladding cast in a foundry in China.
The total height of the structure from its base is 240 m (790 ft), with a base of 58 m (190 ft) and statue of 182 m (597 ft). The height of 182 was specifically chosen to match the number of seats in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
The statue was built on a Public Private Partnership model, with most of the money raised by the Government of Gujarat. The Gujarat state government had allotted ₹6 billion (US$84 million) for the project in the budget from 2012 to 2015. In the 2014–15 Union Budget, ₹2 billion (US$28 million) were allocated for the construction of the statue. Funds were also contributed by PSUs under CSR scheme.
A consortium comprising Turner Construction, Michael Graves and Associates and the Meinhardt Group supervised the project. It took 56 months to complete – 15 months for planning, 40 months for construction and two months for handing over by the consortium. The total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹20.63 billion (US$290 million) by the government. The tender bids for the first phase were invited in October 2013 and were closed in November 2013.
Indian infrastructure company Larsen & Toubro won the contract on 27 October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹29.89 billion (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. They commenced the construction on 31 October 2014. In the first phase of the project, ₹13.47 billion were for the main statue, ₹2.35 billion for the exhibition hall and convention centre, ₹830 million for the bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland and ₹6.57 billion for the maintenance of the structure for 15 years after its completion.
L&T employed over 3000 workers and 250 engineers in the statue's construction. The core of the statue utilised 210,000 cubic metres (7,400,000 cu ft) of cement concrete, 6500 tonnes of structural steel, and 18500 tonnes of reinforced steel. The outer façade is made up of 1700 tonnes of bronze plates and 1850 tonnes of bronze cladding which in turn comprise 565 macro and 6000 micro panels. The bronze panels were cast in China as suitable facilities were unavailable in India.
Local tribals belonging to the Tadvi tribe opposed land acquisition for the development of tourism infrastructure around the statue. They have been offered cash and land compensation, and have been provided jobs.
People of Kevadia, Kothi, Waghodia, Limbdi, Navagam, and Gora villages opposed the construction of the statue and demanded the restitution of the land rights over 375 hectares (927 acres) of land acquired earlier for the dam as well as the formation of new Garudeshwar subdistrict. They also opposed the formation of Kevadia Area Development Authority (KADA) and the construction of Garudeshwar weir-cum-causeway project. The government of Gujarat accepted their demands.
Construction of the monument was completed in mid-October 2018; and the inaugural ceremony was held on 31 October 2018, presided over by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The statue has been described as a tribute to Indian engineering skills.
The Statue of Unity is the world's tallest statue at 182 metres (597 ft). It rises 54 metres (177 ft) higher than the previous record holder, the Spring Temple Buddha in China's Henan province. Within India, the record was earlier held by the 41 m (135 ft) statue of Hanuman at the Paritala Anjaneya Temple near Vijayawada in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The monument is constructed on an island named Sadhu Bet, 3.2 km (2.0 mi) away from and facing the Narmada Dam downstream. The statue and its surroundings occupy more than 2 hectares (4.9 acres), and are surrounded by a 12 km (7.5 mi) long artificial lake formed by the Garudeshwar weir downstream on the Narmada river.
The statue is divided into five zones of which only three are accessible to the public. From its base to the level of Patel's shins is the first zone which has three levels and includes an exhibition area, mezzanine and roof. Zone 1 contains a memorial garden and a museum. The second zone reaches up to Patel's thighs at 149 metres, while the third extends up to the viewing gallery. Zone 4 is the maintenance area while the final zone comprises the head and shoulders of the statue. The museum in zone 1 catalogues the life of Sardar Patel and his contributions. An adjoining audio-visual gallery provides a 15 minute presentation on Patel and also describes the tribal culture of the state.
The Statue of Unity is built to withstand winds of up to 130 kilometres per hour (81 mph) and earthquakes measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. This is aided by the use of two 250-tonne tuned mass dampers which ensure maximum stability. The concrete towers which form the statue's legs contain two elevators each. Each lift can carry 26 people at a time to the viewing gallery in just over 30 seconds. The gallery is located at a height of 153 metres (502 ft) and can hold up to 200 people.
Plans are underway to introduce alternate means of transport to improve accessibility to the monument. An amphibian bus from Kevadiya is planned as is a jetty service from the site of the Sardar Sarovar dam and ropeway.
- According to a senior Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNL) official, the Gujarat government initially hired an American consultant who commissioned sculptor Joseph Menna to create the Statue of Unity's first digital proof-of-the-concept model. However, once they realised that Menna's model was an adaptation of Ram Sutar's statue of Patel at Ahmedabad airport, the government directed L&T to avail the services of Sutar himself.
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