- Statue of Unity will be able to withstand wind velocity up to 60 m/s, vibration and earthquakes
- It was built within three-and-a-half years by an army of over 3,000 workers
- The statue was built by Padma Bhushan recipient sculptor Ram V Sutar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Statue of Unity in Surat, Gujarat around 11:30 am on October 31, 2018.
The Statue of Unity is built in dedication to Iron Man Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who served as the first home minister of independent India. Sardar Patel is credited with uniting all 562 princely states in pre-independent India to build the Republic of India — hence the name of the statue. The date for the inauguration of the statue (October 31, 2018) also marks the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
Located on the Sadhu Bet island, near Rajpipla on the Narmada river, the Statue of Unity is located between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges. A 3.5 km highway will be used to connect the statue to Gujarat’s Kevadia town.
10 interesting facts that distinguish the Statue of Unity from other statues in the world:
1. The Statue of Unity is the tallest statue in the world. At 182 metres, it is 23 metres taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue and almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty (93 metres tall) in US.
2. The statue will be able to withstand wind velocity up to 60 m/s, vibration and earthquakes.
3. It was built within three-and-a-half years by an army of over 3,000 workers, including 300 engineers from infrastructure major Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
4. As Gujarat chief minister, Modi had announced the project in 2010 ahead of civic elections in Ahmedabad. The project, which cost Rs 3,050 crore, was fully funded by the Gujarat government.
5. The Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle set up by Modi in 2011, arranged some 129 tonnes of iron implements from nearly 100 million farmers in 169,000 villages across all states to construct the base of the statue in the ‘Loha’ campaign.
6. The Statue of Unity was built by Padma Bhushan recipient sculptor Ram V Sutar and intricate bronze cladding work was done by a Chinese foundry, the Jiangxi Toqine Company (JTQ).
7. The viewing gallery for the statue, at 153 metres, can accommodate 200 people at a time and offer an expansive view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
8. The Statue of Unity will comprise two semi-joined, composite concrete cylindrical cores, surrounded by a structural steel space frame to support the exterior cladding. 5700 Mton of structural steel and reinforcement bars of 18500Mton were used to build the statue.
9. The statue is a three-layered structure. The innermost layer is made of reinforced cement concrete (RCC), comprising two towers 127 metres high that rise till the statue’s chest. The second layer is a steel structure and the third an 8 mm bronze cladding on the surface.
10. The RCC towers, which at the bottom form Patel’s dhoti-clad legs, have two lifts each. Each lift can carry 26 people to the top in just above half a minute.
While some foreign media are reporting the Statue of Unity as a mark of India’s growing prosperity, the project has faced stiff opposition from tribals.
They said that their lands were taken away for the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project, near which is the statue site, as well as for the statue and all other tourism activities which have been planned. Gujarat tribal organisations said that as many as 75,000 tribals, adversely affected by the Statue of Unity, will observe a bandh today. The bandh will not only be limited to schools, offices or commercial establishments, but households will also be silent (no cooking).
However, officials claim that nearly 15,000 direct jobs will be generated for the tribal people every year from the project.
The Modi government has also drawn flak for spending a staggering amount on the project, while the farmers in the country continue to perish and tribals protest. Many have called the project mere political symbolism that does not add much to the historically rich culture of India.