Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid floral tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his 144th birth anniversary at the Statue of Unity in Kevadia in Gujarat today. Union Home Minister Amit Shah flagged off a run to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the national capital.
The ‘Run for Unity’, which began from the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, saw the participation of a large number of people, including sports personalities, sports enthusiasts and personnel of central police forces among others.
The Statue of Unity, designed by Padma Bhushan sculptor Ram Suthar, depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first Home Minister and architect of united India, wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, facing Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river.
The Statue of Unity is the tallest in the world, standing tall at a height of 182 m. It is almost double the height of the Statue of Liberty in the United States of America, and 23 m taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha statue.Three and a half years went into the building of this statue; 3000 workers, including 300 engineers were involved in the building process.
The viewing gallery, at a height of 153 m, has the capacity to accommodate 200 people at a time and also offers an expansive view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Statue of Unity is a three-layered structure and can withstand earthquakes and severe wind velocity.
As PM Narendra Modi officially dedicated the Statue of Unity to the nation, a section of people, mostly from the left-liberal group, intensified their criticism of the iconic project. In attacking the statue, they said that the statue cost too much money which could have spent in some other welfare project. The liberals also complained that BJP is trying to appropriate the legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was a Congress leader, and who ironically had banned RSS at one point in time.
The Prime Minister, while unveiling the statue, hit out at people, including leaders of opposition parties, who have questioned the government’s decision to construct the memorial.
“I am amazed when some people of our own country dared to see this initiative from a political view and criticize us as if we have committed a huge crime. Is remembering the country’s great personalities a crime?” he asked.
The staunch socialists had turned into overnight avid capitalists, doing ‘value for money’ analysis with regard to the Statue of Unity.
But, according to a recent report, the Statue of Unity has generated a revenue of ₹71.66 crores since its inauguration , shutting down the critics. It is also said that the Statue of Unity has witnessed a footfall of 19,36,582 persons, counting sales from bus tickets, entry tickets, express entry sales and selling tickets to access the viewing gallery. Further, the Statue of Unity has been operational for 232 days, and has witnessed an average daily footfall of 8,347 people.
It’s not just about India’s pride in but it has also created employment and revenue for the country. At the same time, it also created new business opportunities for the people living in nearby areas. Local businesses have been seen in lots of progress. Earlier nearby restaurants used to remain profitable only during monsoon while dam overflowing. An increase in transport, restaurants, accommodation, and other service sectors will in turn improve the economy of India.
Additionally, the RTI also revealed that the Statue of Unity generates ₹10 lakhs on average by way of parking revenue.
Those who criticise the statue are also the same who mock Ambedkar’s memorials as a ‘waste of money’. They do so because they fear the spread of alternative ideas of India challenging the left-wing Nehruvian idea of India.