Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled a 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Gujarat to mark the 143rd birth anniversary of India’s first Home Minister.
Touted as the world’s tallest statue, the ‘Statue of Unity’ has been built on Sadhu Bet island in Narmada river and is 240 metres high from the Narmada river base.
“Had Sardar Patel not united country, we would need visa to see lions or pay homage at Somnath or view Charminar in Hyderabad,” said the Prime Minister in his address at the inauguration ceremony.
Dedicating the Statue of Unity to the nation, Modi said, “India was eternal, is eternal and will always remain eternal.” “From Kutch to Kohima and Kargil and Kanyakumari, if we can travel freely today, it is because of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” he added.
Also present on the occasion were Gujarat Governor OP Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel, BJP president Amit Shah and former Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel.
Built at a cost of Rs 2,389 crore, the statue has been designed by renowned sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar who has also designed the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament complex among others.
According to Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), which is overseeing the project, 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers were involved in the project, which also includes a garden at the base of the statue and two high-speed lifts which will carry 40 people at a time to take them to the viewing gallery.
A museum and audio-visual gallery at the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat Complex’ near the statue will depict the life and times of Sardar Patel.
The Statue has been designed in such a way that it will be able to withstand wind speeds of 220 kmph and earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale.
A 52-room three-star hotel and two tent cities with 250 tents have been constructed near the site to accommodate the visitors to the site. Flowers have been planted on the hills adjoining the statue to give the area a ‘Valley of the Flowers’ look.
Meanwhile, marking Sardar Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary in Delhi, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh described the nation’s late first Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as “the force behind India’s unity and integrity”.
Singh paid floral tributes at his statue set up at New Delhi’s Patel Chowk and gave a call to take a vow to “dedicate ourselves to the vision of the Iron Man of India”.
Addressing a big congregation, he recalled Sardar Patel’s monumental role in uniting various provinces in the immediate aftermath of India’s Independence, adding: “The Nation is deeply indebted to him.”
On this occasion, Singh also flagged off the “Run for Unity” from the Dhyanchand National Stadium. Hundreds of enthusiastic youth, children and elderly citizens participated in the run.
The Union Home Minister also administered the Rashtria Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day) Pledge to the participants.