Narendra Modi to lay foundation stone of Sardar Patel statue tomorrow

After the public spat over the legacy of Sardar Patel between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi will lay the foundation stone for the statue on Thursday.

Ahmedabad: After the public spat over the legacy of Sardar Patel between Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Modi will lay the foundation stone for the statue on Thursday.

Modi wrote on his blog today that "Sardar Patel`s birth anniversary would be even more special because we (Gujarat government) are going to lay the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity".

"At a height of 182 metres, `the State of Unity` would be among the tallest statues in the world, celebrating and paying tributes to the Iron Man of India. It would be situated at Sadhu Bet, which is close to the Sardar Sarovar Dam," he wrote.

"The statue is being built through the PPP model, using the latest technology. A few months ago, I had appealed to my farmer sisters and brothers from all over India to contribute their iron tools they used in farming to build the statue.

After all, Sardar Patel was not only a Loh Purush (Iron Man) but also a Kisan Putra (son of a farmer). I once again appeal to everyone to support us in this endeavour," Modi wrote in his blog.

The inauguration of the Sardar Patel museum yesterday, virtually turned into a debate between the Prime Minister and Modi over claim to the legacy of Patel, independent India`s first Home Minister.

Narendra Modi had said that India`s "fate and face" would have been different had Sardar Patel been its first prime minister, while Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reminded the BJP`s PM candidate of the `Iron Man`s` "secular outlook".

"Sardar Patel is the architect of modern India. Overcoming various obstacles, he integrated the entire nation and today, if we can celebrate our unity, it is due to the efforts of Sardar Patel," Modi wrote.

"Yet, it is equally true that there are forces within our country that are threatened by this unity. They have used guns and bombs to scare and mislead people. From the nation of Lord Buddha, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, let us send a strong message to these elements that their ways of violence will not work. They should alter their path, join the mainstream and work for the development of our nation, so that the dreams of stalwarts like Sardar Patel are fulfilled," Modi wrote.

The Gujarat chief minister and BJP`s prime ministerial candidate also urged citizens to write letters this Diwali, explaining the importance to register as a voter.

"Our nation is at a very critical juncture and it`s voters, the Bhagya Vidhatas of a democracy, who steer the nation away from troubled times," Modi wrote.

Meanwhile, veteran BJP leader L K Advani will also attend the foundation stone laying ceremony of "the Statue of Unity" in Narmada district.

Modi will lay the foundation stone of the first phase of the Rs 2,063-crore project on the 138th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, the country`s first deputy prime minister and home minister.

The Statue of Unity will be double the size of `Statue of Liberty` (which is 93 metres) in the US and four times higher than the statue of `Christ the Redeemer` in Rio De Janeiro.

The first phase, for which bids have already been invited, is estimated to cost around Rs?2,063 crore, which would involve construction of the main statue, a bridge connecting the statue to the river bank and reconstruction of the 12-km road along the bank.

"We plan to develop it in two phases. The first phase is expected to be completed in 42 months after the allotment of work to a suitable party. Presently, global tenders are being invited till November 30. After evaluation of these tenders, the work will be allotted," officials said.

The proposed 182-metre tall Sardar Patel statue which will be called `The Statue of Unity`, will be erected on a small rocky island called Sadhubet in the middle of the Narmada riverbed facing the Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia. The statue will have steel framing, reinforced cement concrete (RCC) and bronze coating.

State tribal development and forest minister Ganpat Vasava, who is also the in-charge of Narmada district, said, "There will be two lifts in the statue and a balcony in the eye of the statue. Visitors can view the beautiful natural surroundings and the Sardar Sarovar Dam from such height".
The entire project will include the statue, a memorial park at the base of the statue, an artificial reservoir between the dam and Garudeshwar town, besides a visitor facilitation centre and reception desk at Kevadia.
The Statue of Unity, is being undertaken by the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), headed by Modi himself.

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