Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled the Statue of Unity, a memorial dedicated to India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel. The statue unveiled on October 31, 2018, commemorating the 143rd birth anniversary of Patel who played a key role in unifying India.
Located at Kevadiya in Narmada district, standing tall at 182m from the ground and 240m from the Narmada river base, it is the world’s tallest statue.
The statue located near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada River, was conceptualised way back in 2010 and its groundbreaking ceremony was held on October 31, 2013. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) was responsible for the construction of the statue.
The iron required for construction was collected through a campaign called ‘Loha’, which collected iron from every state of the country. According to an estimate, 50,00,000kg iron was crowd sourced. Around 3,400 people were engaged in the work for construction of the statue.
About 2,25,00,000kg cement was used in the construction of the statue. The statue was designed by sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar, a receipt of Padma Bhushan in 2016 and Padma Shri in 1999. Sutar had designed more than 50 sculptors in his career including the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament complex.
The cost of the statue was estimated initially as ₹3,001 crore. But when bidding process for the design, construction and maintenance of the statue was done, Larsen and Turbo had in October 2014 won the contract at ₹2,989 crore. The government had set a target to complete the work by mid-October 2018 and inaugurate the statue on Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary.
According to the government’s estimate, around 15,000 tourists are expected to visit the statue daily.
Just a few months ago, a political slugfest erupted over the involvement of Chinese officials in the construction of the statue. According to a statement issued by L&T in 2015, the entire statue of Sardar Patel is being constructed in India and only the bronze cladding in the form of bronze plates have been sourced from China. This is less than 9% of the total value of the project.