Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday dedicated the 182-metre 'Statue of Unity', built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to the nation. Modi unveiled the statue, which is constructed on a river island called Sadhu Bet near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district.
Modi inaugurated the structure on Sardar Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary and marked the occasion as 'Ekta Diwas' or 'Unity Day'. The Statue of Unity, built as a tribute to Sardar Patel — known as the Iron Man of India — is the tallest in the world and the quickest to be completed in just 33 months. It dwarfs the Spring Temple Buddha in China and is twice the size of Statue of Liberty in United States.
During the inauguration ceremony Modi said: "Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day."
"This is a project that we had thought about during the time I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat," Modi added. "In order to build the Statue of Unity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of the soil and thus, a mass movement developed."
"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... Sardar Patel wanted India to be strong, sensitive, vigilant and inclusive. All our efforts are towards realising his dream."
Questioning the critics of the structure, Modi said it "amazed" him that "some people" would "see this initiative from a political view" and "criticise us like we committed a huge crime". "Is remembering country's great personalities a crime?" he asked.
The prime minister that the statue will remind those who question India's existence that this nation was, is and will remain eternal.
He described the Statue of Unity as a symbol of the country's engineering and technical capabilities. It 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. Modi thanked the sculptors and architects who worked on the statue.
The Statue of Unity project, barring bronze cladding which is a fragment of the mammoth work, has been done indigenously, infrastruccture giant Larsen and Toubro (L&T) claimed. The raft construction of the structure actually begun on 19 December 2015, and took 33 months to complete.
L&T CEO and MD S N Subrahmanyan told PTI, "The Statue of Unity, apart from being a symbol of national pride, and integration is also a tribute to India's engineering skills and project management abilities. "Our engineering and construction teams along with the architects, the sculptor, and reputed global consultants, have realised this dream of Prime Minister to reality in a record period of time. Our commitment to scale, speed and quality in engineering has yielded this desired outcome, which is not only structurally superior but also aesthetically appealing."
L&T said it has been engineered to withstand wind speeds of up to 50 metre per second (almost 180 km). The Statue of Unity can also survive earthquakes measuring up to 6.5 on the Richter Scale, at a depth of 10 km and within a radius of 12 km of the statue.
A viewing gallery has been created at a height of 135 metres inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of the dam and nearby mountain ranges. The bronze statue cost Rs 2,989 crores to construct.
Governor of Gujarat OP Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP chief Amit Shah were present at the unveiling of the Statue of Unity.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Oct 31, 2018 12:38:47 IST