The Statue of Unity, a memorial dedicated to India’s first Home minister Sardar Patel, is set for inauguration. The statue will be unveiled on October 31 commemorating the 143rd birth anniversary of Patel who played a key role in unifying India. The statue is unique in many ways and will be the tallest statue in the world. The memorial which is 182 meters tall, twice of the Statue of Liberty located in New York, is located near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river.
Also Read: Statue of Unity unveiling LIVE updates
As the preparations for the launch of Statue of Unity is in the last phase, here we bring to some interesting facts about the statue.
1. Work completed in record time
The project was announced in 2010 but the groundbreaking ceremony of the statue was held on October 31, 2013 when Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. The Statue of Unity is said to be Modi’s dream project. The Gujarat government had set up Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) that was responsible for the construction of the statue. Since December 2013, the Trust organised several outreach programmes to collect raw materials for the construction of the memorial.
2. 50 lakh kg iron crowdsourced
The iron required for construction was collected through a campaign called ‘Loha’. Under this campaign, the Trust had collected iron from every state of the country. According to an estimate, 50,00,000 kg iron was crowdsourced. Around 3,400 people were engaged in the work for construction of Sardar Patel’s statue.
3. 2.25 crore kg cement used
Around 2,25,00,000 kg cement which is equivalent to the weight of 56 Boeing 747 planes was used in the construction of the statue. The statue was designed by sculptor Ram Vanji Sutar, a receipt of Padma Bhushan in 2016 and Padma Shri in 1999. Sutar had designed more than 50 sculptors in his career including the statue of Mahatma Gandhi inside the Parliament complex.
4. Total cost – Rs 2,989 crore
The construction work had started in October 2013. Initially, the cost of the statue was estimated around Rs 3,001 crore. But when bidding process for the design, construction and maintenance of the statue was done, Larsen and Turbo had in October 2014 won the contract at Rs 2,989 crore. The government had set a target to complete the work by mid-October 2018 and inaugurate the statue on Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary.
Watch video: Statue of Unity set for inauguration
5. 15,000 tourists expected daily
According to the government’s estimate, around 15,000 tourists are expected to visit the statue daily. The 182-metre-high statue is visible from a 7-km radius. The decision about the height of the statue which is 182 metres from the ground, was taken in order to match the total number of Assembly constituencies in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.
6. Statue of Unity: World’s tallest statue
The Statue of Unity is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty and four times that of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. While the Statue of Liberty is 93 metres tall, Christ the Redeemer is just 30 metres high. The Statue of Liberty is the tallest memorial in the world till date. It is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. It was inaugurated on October 28 in 1886.
7. Challenges faced
The construction of the statue however wasn’t a walk in the park. The biggest challenge engineers faced was in developing a strong base for the statue. After rigorous research and checking the compatibility of statue in a high-wind zone, the construction of the statue began. To make such a giant statue, it was necessary to have a sturdy base. But unlike Statue of Liberty and Christ the Redeemer, the Statue of Unity does not have a wider base. Sardar Patel used to wear a dhoti, hence legs of the statue had to be designed in such a way that it can bear the weight of the tall structure. This means the statue is thinner at the base than the upper portion. This goes against the common practice that has been followed in developing other tall statues. Engineers kept slenderness ratio between the top and bottom of the statue to 16:19, higher than 8:14 ratio rule that is followed in the construction of a high-rise building. Others factors like wind and earthquakes were also a cause of concern for the engineers. According to a Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd official, the statue can survive wind speeds of 220 kmph and earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale. To make the statue safe from wind and earthquake, engineers first developed the Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) core. Then steel frames were affixed. By June 2017, the core wall, base arches were completed and statues were completed up to 59 metres. By July 2018, the RCC core was completed up to 157 metres, putting engineers in a comfortable position to carry out the further construction of the statue.
8. ‘Chinese contribution’
Just a few months ago, a political slugfest erupted over the involvement of Chinese officials in the construction of the statue. Congress president Rahul Gandhi alleged that Sardar Patel’s statue was being developed with Chinese assistance. He had said: “Prime Minister used to say that we will install the statue of Sardar Patel in Gujarat. It is unfortunate that the iron man’s statue will be inscribed with ‘Made-in-China’ as it is being made by China.” This prompted a sharp reaction from the BJP which asked Congress president to ‘stop belittling great personalities’.
According to a statement issued by L&T in 2015, the entire statue of Sardar Patel is being constructed in India and only the bronze cladding in the form of bronze plates have been sourced from China. This is less than 9% of the total value of the project.