Sardar Patel statue: Narendra Modi to unveil 182-metre-tall ‘Statue of Unity’ today; will be world’s tallest such memorial

Sardar Patel statue: Narendra Modi to unveil 182-metre-tall ‘Statue of Unity’ today; will be world’s tallest such memorial

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday will dedicate to the nation the Statue of Unity, a 182-meter-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which is also the world’s tallest statue so far.

The imposing monument is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district. After Modi unveils the statue, three IAF planes will fly past, said an official release Tuesday. Modi will also inaugurate the ‘Wall of Unity’ near the statue. At that time, three Jaguar fighter jets will fly past the structure at a low altitude, said the release.

After inaugurating the Wall of Unity, Modi would offer floral tributes to Patel, whose birth anniversary falls on 31 October. At the same time, two MI-17 helicopters will shower flowers, the release added. On the occasion, cultural and musical programmes will be performed by the bands of the Gujarat Police, armed and paramilitary forces. There will be dance and musical performances by artists drawn from 29 states and two Union Territories.

Modi, who landed in Ahmedabad on Tuesday night, is also scheduled to visit the ‘Wall of Unity’ which is built with soil collected from more than a lakh villages across the country in 2013-14.

Governors of Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat and at least 140 Gujaratis living in 38 cities across 20 states will be a part of the inauguration event, the report said.

Some of the other major attractions include the inauguration of a 17-kilometer-long Valley of Flowers, a tent city for tourists near the statue and a museum dedicated to the life and times of Patel. A viewing gallery at a height of 135 meters has been created inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of the dam and nearby mountain ranges.

There will also be bhavans made near the statute for various states, built by some state governments on the Gujarat government’s invitation. Reportedly, Uttar Pradesh and Nagaland have already accepted the proposal.

The statue has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 metric tonnes of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure, according to the government statement. The statue’s construction had received opposition from some tribal groups in Narmada district.

Meanwhile, local tribal leaders have announced a boycott of Wednesday’s event claiming “mass destruction” of natural resources due to the project. In an open letter addressed to Modi, sarpanches of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river have said villagers will not welcome the prime minister when he arrives for the function. “We villagers want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on 31 October. Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here,” said the common letter signed by sarpanches of the villages of Narmada district, located around 200 kilometers from Ahmedabad. The area still lacks basic facilities like schools, hospitals, and drinking water, they alleged.

 

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