Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a tall statue of Vallabhbhai Patel, dedicated as the Statue of Unity, today. It was unveiled on the birth anniversary of Vallabhbhai Patel at Kevadia Colony, Gujarat.
The 182 metre tall statue is situated in Sadhu Bet, a river island 3.32 km from the Sardar Sarovar Dam. The Statue of Unity is said to be the tallest statue in the world, 177 feet taller than China’s Spring Temple’s Buddha statue, which was the tallest till now. The statue is designed by Ram V. Sutar, a Padma Bhushan Award winner and is worth Rs. 2,989 crores.
Although the statue is appreciated by many tourists and visitors, the local tribals, led by Chhotu Vasava, are against the statue’s construction and are protesting against the same. They claim the project is affecting their lands and rights.
Chhotu Vasava told the media, “We are not against Sardar Patel, but we are against the BJP government in the state which has snatched the rights of tribals in Gujarat. Our demand is that government should implement Article 244 (1) of the Constitution, and then inaugurate the Statue of Unity.” He further added, “We just want to ask how tribals could benefit from the Statue of Unity. The government should come out with clear picture. We have been protesting for long, as a result of which we are getting support from a large number of tribals across the state.”
The State Government defended the action by saying the statue will attract many tourists and increase the chances of jobs in the area. The youths living in the region were also trained to be guides at the site of the statue.
Many local tribes boycotted the inauguration event and wrote a letter to the PM stating they are not happy with the project and will not welcome PM Narendra Modi. They declared the inauguration day as a black day and called for a bandh.
Accessing the intensity of the situation, a heavy police force was deployed for the purpose of security and to avoid any chaos during the unveiling event.