Kevadiya: Unveiling the 182-metre giant 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat's Kevadiya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel not united the country, we would need visa to see lions at Gir and Hyderabad's Charminar.
PM Modi said that the statue, believed to be the tallest in the world, would be a reminder about the courage of a man who thwarted efforts to disintegrate India. He added that it will remind those who question India's existence that this nation was, is and will remain eternal.
Remembering Sardar Patel's contribution in uniting the country by annexing over 550 princely states, Modi said the great leader had "successfully foiled a conspiracy to divide India in to pieces" Sardar Patel had used force to annex princely states of Junagadh ruled by Nawab and Hyderabad ruled by nizam, both of whom had wished not to merge their states with the India union.
"The world's tallest statue would remind the entire world, the future generations about the courage, capabilities and resolution of the person who did this holy work of thwarting the conspiracy to disintegrate Mother India into pieces," the prime minister said addressing a gathering after inaugurating the monument.
"The statue will remind those who question India's existence, that this nation was, is and will remain eternal," Modi said. "This (statue) is a source of unity...with this sentiment we should march...and march with a dream to make the country 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' (One India, Superior India)," he added.
Modi said his government has taken up the cause of bringing to life the history and contributions of great personalities. "During the last four years, our government has set up many memorials of our national heroes, including this sky-high statue of Sardar Patel, his museum in Delhi, Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar's Panch Tirth and a memorial dedicated to son of Gujarat's soil, Shyamji Krishna Varma," he said.
Meanwhile, Congress president Rahul Gandhi launched a veiled attack on the ruling BJP government. He said it was ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but "every institution he helped build is being smashed".
Ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed. The systematic destruction of India's institutions is nothing short of treason. #StatueOfUnity— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) October 31, 2018
Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP chief Amit Shah were present at the unveiling of the 'Statue of Unity' in Gujarat. The ceremony coincided with Patel's 143rd birth anniversary.
The imposing monument is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the US and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district.
It has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforcement steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 metric tonnes of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure. 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 raft construction of the structure actually begun on December 19, 2015, and took 33 months construction time for completion.
Visitors can also get a distant view of the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12-km-long Garudeshwar Reservoir. In the lobby area at the entrance of the statue, a Museum and Audio Visual Gallery will feature 15-minute presentations on the life of Patel and the tribal culture of Gujarat on the pattern of Burj Khalifa where visitors are shown audio-visual presentations on its construction.
On December 15, 2013, then Gujarat CM Narendra Modi had flagged off the campaign to 1,69,000 villages, carrying about three lakh empty kit boxes and subsequently, by 2016, 135 metric tonnes of iron was collected for the statue.