India is said to be building the tallest statue in the world, dedicated to one of its prominent freedom fighters and the first Deputy Prime Minister of the country, Sardar Vallabhai Patel. To be revealed in October, the statue is estimated to be twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in New York.
The Statue Of Unity
Patel is often credited with uniting India into the single country that we know today at the end of British colonialism. In fact, India was a collection of about 565 princely states when the British left, with many princes not wishing to join the republic.
Through skillful persuasion, strategy, and sometimes force, Patel succeeded in making all the princely states sign up to be a part of India. It is for this reason that he is revered among Indians. Many nationalists feel that Patel had not received the kind of attention that India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had received.
The statue is being constructed in the state of Gujarat and is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018.
“It’s not just a statue, it’s an emblem of the country’s unity and integrity,” The Quint quotes Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who also added that the statue would be made from iron, soil, and water that is sourced from all across the country as a symbol of unification.
The statue has been plagued with several issues, with many people questioning why millions of dollars are being spent on it. Environmental concerns have also been raised against the project, with several activists claiming that the statue did not receive clearance from the country’s environmental ministry.
Announced in 2010, the cost of the statue was initially estimated to be around US$440 million. Larsen & Toubro won the contract and has been working on the project since October 2014.
At present, the tallest statue in the world is the Spring Temple Buddha in China, which has been measured to be 420 feet in height. When the Patel statue is completed, it will have a height of almost 600 feet, easily making it the tallest statue in the world. With the base included, the total height of the statue will come in at around 790 feet.
It is estimated the statue will use about 5,700 metric tons of steel, 75,000 cubic meters of concrete, 22,500 tons of bronze sheets, and 18,500 tons of reinforced steel rods.
The statue will feature bronze cladding. It will be equipped with high-speed elevators that allow visitors to reach the top levels quite fast. An observation deck has been planned at around 1,500 feet from the surface.
A trust was established to see the project through. And though it collected more than 5,000 metric tons of iron from various villages, it was later revealed that the collected material won’t be used for the construction of the statue, but will mostly be used in other parts of the project.
The statue will cover about 20,000 square meters and be surrounded by a 12 square kilometer artificial lake. Visitors will have to hire a boat to reach the Patel Statue. The place will have numerous food stalls, retail kiosks, and gift shops to give visitors a well-rounded experience during their trip.