Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected a PIL challenging the construction of the Statue of Unity, Chief Minister Narendra Modi`s pet project.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala today rejected the PIL, challenging the construction of the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and declined to interfere in the matter stating that it falls under the realm of policy-making.
"If people feel that the government is wasting money, people will give their reply during elections," the court said.
Quoting reports in the PIL that the project would cost Rs 2,400 crore, petitioner J D Goswami had alleged that public money was being squandered on the project.
The petitioner had also alleged that local people were opposed to the project and instead of spending so much money on the construction of the statue, the expenditure incurred on it could be utilised to redress basic problems of locals.
The Statue of Unity, which is expected to come up on Sadhu Bet island on the banks of the Narmada river, was initially opposed by many villagers, following which, the state government ceded to the majority of their demands. However, activists claim that close to 70 villages are still against the project.
The foundation stone for the project was laid by senior BJP leader L K Advani on October 31, 2013, the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
On December 15, 2013, the death anniversary of Patel, a `Run for Unity` was organised across various cities in the country to collect iron material for the construction of the statue.