The project of building the world's tallest statue of India's "Iron Man" has begun in earnest. It has been declared a national project in the country's Budget and Oct 31, the birthday of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has been declared National Unity Day.
Sardar Patel was India's first home minister and he had the task of uniting 565 princely states after India gained independence. The statue is a tribute to the extraordinary administrative skills and bravery shown by him in uniting India after the bloody and painful partition.
Here are some highlights of the statue which will be built at the Sadhu-Bet Island, approximately 3.5km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat:
The project - to be constructed by India's Larsen & Toubro - will be completed in four years at a cost of Rs2,979 crores (S$626 million).
The project will include an exhibition hall and audio-visual presentation on the life of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 tonnes of steel structures, 18,500 steel rods and 22,500 tonnes of bronze will be used for the project.
Around 15,000 people will be able to visit the statue every day.
The upper observation deck - at 500 ft - can hold 200 people at a time.
The project will include a state-of-the-art underwater aquarium.
A large canopied public plaza, overlooking the river and the statue, will have scrumptious food stalls, ornate gift shops, retail kiosks and other visitor amenities.
India's prime minister Narendra Modi has launched a countrywide campaign to collect iron to build the statue and the Gujarat government has claimed that iron was collected from around seven lakh villages across India.
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