Statue of Unity – The World’s Tallest Statue is dedicated to Indian Freedom Fighter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, credited with uniting all the princely states of the Indian sub-continent. There were more beautiful and mesmerizing additions to the world’s tallest statue – Statue of Unity, but why were they rejected? EurAsian Times talked to the project manager who made some interesting points.
Statue of Unity – The Worlds Tallest Statue
Statue of Unity is designed as a historically accurate representation of eminent leader – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wearing elegant garments, in a walking stance. The total height of the statue from its base is 240-metre consisting base level of 58 metres and statue of 182 metres.
The World’s Tallest Statue is almost 29 metres taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha, the world’s current tallest statue at 153 metres, and almost twice as high as the 93-metre Statue of Liberty in New York. Indian PM Narendra Modi, who was then Chief Minister of Gujrat, had laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013.
Located on a river island called ‘Sadhu Bet’, the Statue of Unity is about 3.5 km away from the Narmada dam. A 250-metre long bridge provides connectivity to the island. It is designed to withstand winds, vibrations and earthquake.
The monument is designed by Ram V. Sutar. A consortium comprising Turner Construction, Michael Graves and Associates and the Meinhardt Group supervised the project. It took 56 months to complete – 15 months for planning, 40 months for construction and two months for handing over by the consortium.
The observation deck, situated at a height of around 500 ft from the river bed, will accommodate up to 200 people at a time. It will provide visitors a panoramic view, enabling them to see the beautiful Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 212 km long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12 km long Garudeshwar Reservoir. For the comfort of the visitors against high wind forces, a 400-ton Tuned Mass Damper system has been provided above the observation deck.
The Statue of Unity had many Indian origin workers and project managers from international organizations like Turner Construction, Meinhardt Group ad Michael Graves and Associates.
One of the design architects informed EurAsian Times that the initial plan of the Indian government was to carve stories related to the independence movement on the shawl that was draped on Sardar Patel.
Visitors would have been able to read the stories as the lifts ascended to the top. However, cost considerations forced the design team to inscribe them only at the base of the statue. The stirring movement of the stories uplifting one as the visitor was carried up was lost due to budget constraints.
Statue of Unity – Critics
Many anti-government critics, meanwhile, have argued for the need for such a large scale, expensive statues when the country’s farmers are protesting and committing suicides. Many have also argued that at the cost of the statue, India could have opened another IIT or IIM or even emulated the Chinese model to invest in technology rather than wasting money of statues.
Others arguing in favour stated that it is going to be a great tourists destination, which in turn will act as a catalyst for the development of the Narmada district. This will surely benefit the resident population by creating jobs, infrastructure like expressways, railways for better connectivity. The project site can provide a healthy environment for industrialization.
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