Ahmedabad: The Statue of Unity, a 182-metre giant structure built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, will be dedicated to the nation on Wednesday by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The imposing monument, touted as the world’s tallest statue, is twice the height of Statue of Liberty and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district.
After Modi unveils the statue, three IAF planes would fly past and create the tricolour in the sky by emitting saffron, white and green colours, said an official release Tuesday.
Modi would also inaugurate the ‘Wall of Unity’ (a monument defining India’s unity) near the statue. At that time, three Jaguar fighter jets would fly past the structure at a low altitude, said the release.
After inaugurating the Wall of Unity, Modi would offer floral tributes to Patel, whose birth anniversary falls on October 31.
At the same time, two MI-17 helicopters would shower flowers on the statue, it said. On the occasion, cultural and musical programmes will be performed by the bands of Gujarat Police, armed and paramilitary forces.
There will be dance and musical performances by artistes drawn from 29 states and two Union Territories. Some of other major attractions include inauguration of a 17-km-long Valley of Flowers, a tent city for tourists near the statue and a museum dedicated to the life and times of Patel.
A viewing gallery at a height of 135 metres has been created inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of the dam and nearby mountain ranges.
The statue has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforcement steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 metric tonnes of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure, according to the government statement.
The statue’s construction had received opposition from some tribal groups in Narmada district. Meanwhile, local tribal leaders have announced a boycott of Wednesday’s event claiming “mass destruction” of natural resources due to the project.
In an open letter addressed to Modi, sarpanches of 22 villages situated near the Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river have said villagers will not welcome the prime minister when he arrives for the function. “We villagers want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on October 31. Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here,” said the common letter signed by sarpanches of the villages of Narmada district, located around 200 km from Ahmedabad.
The area still lacks basic facilities like schools, hospitals and drinking water, they alleged. (PTI)