The Gujarat government issued work order of Rs 2,979 crore to one of India’s largest engineering firm, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), on Monday to construct the Statue of Unity, the world’s tallest statue and one of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet projects. The 182-metre statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is being built as a tribute to the “iron man of India” and to popularise his thoughts and ideology. The project was floated by Modi on October 31, 2013, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. The statue, which will be double the size of the US’ Statue of Liberty and four times that of the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will be built on the Sadhu island, about 3.5 km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam, at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat. The construction of the statue along with an exhibition hall, a man-made lake and a bridge connecting the Sadhu island with the mainland, hotel and convention centre, is likely to be completed in the next 42 months. The work order was issued to L&T in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and her Cabinet at a function held in Gandhinagar on Monday. S N Subrahmanyan, senior executive vice-president (infrastructure and construction) at L&T, received the work order on behalf of the company from K Srinivasan, member secretary, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust, the nodal agency for execution of the project. Patel said the iconic structure and additional facilities being set up in the predominantly tribal area will play an important role in socio-economic development of the region. “This unique location will prove beneficial for eco-tourism and regional development. This icon-based development will also help generate local employment for the people in Kevadia,” she said.
The completion of the bidding process within a year of laying the foundation stone shows the commitment of the state government towards the project. L&T’s Subrahmanyan said: “Our work begins from today itself with the issuance of the work order. Since it is a unique and complex project, the first six months will be spent for design-related works and the rest (36 months) for the construction.” He further said the statue would be made up of steel frame on which around 13,000 bronze panels would be fitted. At 152 metres, there will be a viewing gallery where 200 people can together stand and view the Sardar Sarovar Dam, he said, adding that more than 60,000 tonnes of steel will be used in building the entire statue. Another unique feature about the statue is that it will be made out of the iron collected from farmers across India. Modi had launched the massive iron collection drive last year with senior state ministers and bureaucrats visiting states across the country and collecting a piece of iron each from around 700,000 villages. These pieces will be melted and used for the construction of the memorial. The first phase of the Statue of Unity project will 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. The project comprises the statue, a memorial park at the base of the statue, an artificial reservoir between the dam and Garudeshwar town and a visitor facilitation centre and reception desk at Kevadia. The total height of the statue, including the 58-metre base level, will be 240 metres. Of the total contract of Rs 2,979 crore, Rs 1,347 crore would be used for building the statue, Rs 235 crore for constructing the exhibition centre and convention centre, Rs 134 crore for research and development centres and Rs 83 crore for building the bridge connecting memorial with the mainland. According to the agreement, L&T will maintain and manage the project site for 15 years after completion of the construction for which it will be paid Rs 657 crore for the period.
TALL ORDER Key features of Statue of Unity project Statue height: 182 metres Concrete: 75,000 cubic metre Structured steel: 5,700 tonne Reinforced steel: 18,500 tonne Bronze sheets: 22,500 tonne Expected tourists: 2.5 million per annum Year of completion: 2018 Other features
- Museum and audio-visual department depicting the life and times of Sardar Vallabhbai Patel
- A laser, light and sound show on the efforts of unification of India
- Research centre dedicated to the research and development of subjects close to Sardar Patel’s heart like good governance and agriculture development. Subjects like water management and tribal development will also be studied and researched
- Will have very fast elevators
- The three-level base of the statue, exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof will have a memorial garden and a large continuous exhibition hall that will be developed as a visitor attraction, focusing on the contributions of Sardar Patel