WION Web Team Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
Oct 31, 2018, 08.43 AM (IST)
Oct 31, 2018, 11.25 AM
I am amazed when some people of our own country dare to see this initiative from a political view & criticise us like we have committed a huge crime. Is remembering country's great personalities a crime?: PM Modi. #StatueOfUnitypic.twitter.com/w4tLYu1kFJ
Hailing Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's contribution in the integration of the country, PM Modi said had it not been for Patel, the people would have needed visas to see Gir lions.
He added, "On Sardar Patel's appeal, hundreds of princely state had set an example of sacrifice in the country. We should never forget their sacrifice".
#WATCH: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says, "if it was not for Sardar Sahab's resolve, then we Indians would have to take visa to see the Gir lions, pray at Somnath, or to see Hyderabad's Charminar". #StatueOfUnitypic.twitter.com/RfAu3tOSyu
Addressing the event, PM Modi said that he had thought about the project during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat.
He said, "This is a project that we had thought about during the time I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat".
"Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day".
This is a project that we had thought about during the time when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. To build the #StatueOfUnity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of soil and thus, a mass movement started: PM Modi pic.twitter.com/ekJ3q7gDnC
"We are all delighted to be here, on the banks of the Narmada. Today we mark Ekta Diwas. Several people across India are taking part in the 'Run for Unity'".
Hailing the contribution of farmers, PM Modi said, "In order to build the Statue of Unity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of the soil and thus, a mass movement developed".
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore flagged off the “Run for Unity” marathon in Delhi on 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
Gymnast Dipa Karmakar among other sportsperson also present.
The "Run for Unity" marathon was flagged off by the prime minister on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel last year. The marathon was introduced with the aim of having every Indian run together in a tribute to Sardar Patel.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore flag off “Run for Unity” in Delhi on 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Gymnast Dipa Karmakar among other sportsperson also present. #StatueOfUnitypic.twitter.com/9emHGaemag
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.