Statue of Unity
|एकता की प्रतिमा|
An artist's impression of the planned statue
|Location||Sadhu bet, Near Sardar Sarovar Dam, Garudeshvar weir, Gujarat, India|
|Designer||Ram V. Sutar|
|Material||Steel framing, reinforced concrete, bronze coating|
|Beginning date||31 October 2014|
|Dedicated to||Sardar Patel|
The Statue of Unity is an under construction monument dedicated to Indian independence movement leader Vallabhbhai Patel located in the Indian state of Gujarat. 182 metres (597 feet) in height, it is to be located facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Vadodara in Gujarat. This statue is planned to be spread over 20,000 square meters of project area and will be surrounded by an artificial lake spread across 12 km of area. It would be the world's tallest statue when completed. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Gujarat government and the outreach programme across India was carried out starting December 2013.
Initially the total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹2,063 crore (US$320 million) by the government. Later Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹2,989 crore (US$460 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. The construction was started on 31 October 2014.
The project was first announced on 7 October 2010. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Gujarat government for construction of 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. SVPRET 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 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 was organized a Suraaj ( good governance in Hindi) petition wherein people wrote about their ideas for the good governance. The Suraaj Petition was signed by an estimated 20 million people, which was the world's largest petition signed. A marathon entitled Run For Unity was held on 15 December 2013 in several places throughout India. The marathon had a large turnout and sign-ups before the event reported thousands of registrations.
The monument statue of Vallabhbhai Patel will be constructed facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet. 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. The statue will need 75000 cubic metres of concrete, 5700 metric tonne steel structure, 18500 tonne reinforced steel rods, 22500 tonne bronze sheets for construction. In the first phase, a bridge connecting the memorial to the main land, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes will also be constructed.
The Statue of Unity is being designed as a naturalistic and historically accurate representation of Sardar Patel, wearing characteristic garments, in a walking stance. Some highlights of this project:
- Bronze cladding on the Statue.
- Fast elevators to reduce transit time for visitors.
- The three-level base of the Statue - exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof - will contain a Memorial Garden and a large continuous museum/exhibition hall, comprising exhibits that focus on the life and contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
- The observation deck, situated at a height of around 500 ft from river bed, will accommodate up to 200 people at a time. It will provide visitors a panoramic view, enabling them to see the beautiful Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 212 km long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12 km long Garudeshwar Reservoir.
- Access to the Statue via a 5 km boat ride.
- A large modern canopied public plaza, overlooking the Narmada River and the Statue, comprising food stalls, ornate gift shops, retail kiosks and other amenities, that will provide visitors a well-rounded tourist experience.
The monument will be built on a PPP model, with most of the money raised by Gujarat Government. The Government of Gujarat has allotted Rs 100 crore for the project in the budget for 2012-13 and Rs 500 crore in 2014-15. In the 2014-15 Union Budget announced on 10 July 2014, ₹2 billion (US$31 million) have been allocated for the construction of the statue.
A consortium of Turner Construction (project manager 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 total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹2,063 crore (US$320 million) by the government. The tender bids for the first phase were invited in October 2013 and were closed in November 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.
Indian infrastructure company Larsen & Toubro bagged the contract on 27 October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹2,989 crore (US$460 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. They commenced the construction on 31 October 2014 and is expected to complete it by 2018. In the first phase of ₹2,989 crore (US$460 million) project, Rs 1347 crore are for the main statue, Rs 235 crore for exhibition hall and convention centre, Rs 83 crore for the bridge connecting the memorial to the main land and Rs 657 crore for the maintenance of the structure for 15 years after its completion. Accenture provides digital media outreach programme.
The statue has so far been erected up to the knees — 59 meters tall, at 117 m above sea level — out of a planned 182 m, to match the number of assembly constituencies in Gujarat.Close to 2,400 workers are at work on day and night shifts. “Currently, we are constructing the core wall, the RCC spine of the statue — on which steel frames will be affixed to hold the bronze cladding together.
Most local people have opposed land acquisition for tourism infrastructure development around the statue. They also proved 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.
When ₹2 billion (US$31 million) was allocated for the statue in the 2014-15 Union budget, several people and the political parties criticised the expenditure for the statue over other priorities like women's safety, education and agricultural schemes. L&T has contracted with TQ Art Foundry; subsidiary of the Jiangxi Toqine Company based in Nanchang, China; for the bronze cladding of the statue. It was criticised by Indian National Congress, the opposition party in Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
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