Farmers helped build it, tribals to benefit from Statue of Unity: PM Modi

This is a project that we had thought about during the time when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. To build the #StatueOfUnity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of soil and thus, a mass movement starte
Inaugurating world's tallest 'Statue of Unity', dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended an olive branch to local tribals by stating that the resulting tourism from the statue will benefit the latter.

In his speech during inauguration of the 182 metres high statue of Patel, Modi said that the resulting tourism will "change the lives of the locals" there by boosting trade and employment with tourists also being exposed to the local tribal culture.

"I credit the farmers for helping build this statue by donating their farm equipment. Tribals will get direct employment. These forests and tribal culture will be opened up to domestic and international tourists. The state government is developing nearby areas as a tourist spot," said Modi.

Incidentally, multiple villages in the vicinity were supposed to protest against the project, demanding pending compensation due to displacement. However, on Wednesday, while the nearby villages wore almost a deserted look with police personnel manning the newly built and barricaded pucca roads, the venue was packed with dignitaries and visitors clicking selfies with the steel, concrete and brass-clad Iron Man of India.

Among the dignitaries were Dhirubhai Patel, grandson of Sardar Patel's elder brother Somabhai Patel who welcomed the project by saying, "We are thankful to PM Modi and the government for this recognition to Sardar Patel." However, Patel said that he was not aware of any protests against the statue by local tribals.

At 182 meters (597 feet), the Statue of Unity is the tallest in the world with the buildings and factories business of the construction arm of Larsen & Toubro having designed it in 13 months and constructed it in a record time of 33 months.

L&T's construction arm had won the roughly Rs 29.9 billion EPC contract for the design and construction of the Statue of Unity from the Government of Gujarat in October 2014 and construction of the raft of the statue began in December 2015.

The SoU, on the Sadhu Bet Island, approximately 3.5 km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat also houses a museum at the base and a viewing gallery at the chest level of the statue.

Lauding Sardar Patel, PM Modi further said, "If Sardar had not united us as a nation instead of diverse princely states and kingdoms, we would have needed visa to travel from one part of the country to another."

Commenting on the project, S N Subrahmanyan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, L&T said, "The Statue of Unity, apart from being a symbol of national pride, and integration is also a tribute to India's engineering skills and project management abilities. Larsen & Toubro has delivered several projects of national significance and we are proud to be associated with building the world's tallest statue, which is a fitting homage to the Iron Man of India - Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel."

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