Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity in Gujarat’s Narmada district is twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty. Iron was collected from all over the country to build the statue.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled the Statue of Unity, which at 182 metres is the tallest in the world, as a tribute to freedom icon Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary. Air Force planes showered flowers on the statue in a grand inaugural event on the banks of the Narmada river in Gujarat as PM Modi dedicated it to the nation. The Sardar Patel statue, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, has been built at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore and is located in Gujarat, 3.2 km downstream of the Narmada dam. Anticipating protests by locals who demand compensation for the land used for the enormous figure, thousands of police personnel were deployed ahead of the inauguration. “Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day,” PM Modi said, paying glowing tribute to Sardar Patel.
Here is your interesting facts on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue of Unity:
- “It is one of the greatest moments in my life today. Because of your blessings, I have been given the honour to be the one who dedicates this amazing statue to the nation,” PM Modi said.The statue depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister, wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, towering over river Narmada. Iron was collected from all over the country for the statue of Sardar Patel, also known as the Iron Man of India.The statue can withstand severe wind velocity and severe earthquakes.
- The statue has been designed by Padma Bhushan-winning sculptor Ram V Sutar and has been built by Larsen and Toubro and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers to construct the statue in 33 months.
- The Statue of Unity stands 177 feet higher than the current world’s tallest, China’s Spring Temple Buddha in the central Henan province.
- Local tribal leaders had announced a boycott of the inaugural function citing destruction of natural resources due to the memorial. The Gujarat government said the 185 families moved to make way for the statue had been compensated and given 1,200 acres of new land.
- “Had Sardar Patel not united the country, we would need visas to see lions or pay homage at Somnath or view the Charminar in Hyderabad,” PM Modi said.
- The core of the statue is made up of reinforced concrete, but its surface that gives it a distinct design, has been created using 553 bronze panels – each panel has 10 to 15 micro panels. The panels were cast at a foundry in China and imported, which led to Congress chief Rahul Gandhi repeatedly targeting the government, claiming that the statue which will have a ‘Made in China‘ tag.
- The panels were cast in a foundry in China after an international bidding process since there was no such facility in India that could make panels of that size, officials said.
- The statue has a viewing gallery which can accommodate 200 visitors at a time. This gallery offers a view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, its reservoir, and the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.
- Once the statue is open to the public, officials expect around 15,000 visitors each day. The museum has 40,000 documents, 2,000 photographs and a research centre dedicated to Sardar Patel’s life.
But locals, including farmers, are sceptical.
“Instead of spending money on a giant statue, the government should have used it for farmers in the district,” Vijendra Tadvi, a farmer who also worked as a driver on the statue’s construction site, told BBC Gujarati’s Roxy Gagdekar.