The opening of tenders for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream project ‘Statue of Unity’ — the tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel — has coincided with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget declaring it as a national project and injecting Rs 200 crore for this purpose.
The tender bids for construction and maintenance of the Statue of Unity were opened Wednesday, with engineering giant L&T all set to bag the contract at the lowest bid of Rs 2,980 crore against an estimated cost of Rs 2,063 crore.
J N Singh, MD of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) — the implementing agency for the 182-metre tall statue, said declaring construction of the massive iron statue as a national project will definitely work for it. “It will get national attention. And we stay assured that the central government is also there for us. Also, you stay assured that if there is any hurdle it will be resolved.”
Singh said that the commitment of the Centre to grant Rs 200 crore for the project is encouraging. The Gujarat government has already sanctioned Rs 500 crore for the Statue of Unity.
The Indian Express had run a report last month on how the iron collection drive for the statue did not yield desired result with as many as 16 states not contributing anything for the project.
Sources said that the government had invited tenders for the design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of the Statue of Unity from companies across the world. However, only two groups filled the tenders — L&T and a consortium of companies. Sources said that L&T had filed bid of Rs 2,980 crore for the project that included operation and maintenance for 15 years. Whereas, the consortium had bid for Rs 4,100 crore.
The tender procedure was done by a consultant firm appointed by the SSNNL and now the latter plans to issue a Letter of Intent (LoI) to L&T for initiating the project after necessary negotiations. Sources said that L&T is expected to start work on the project after monsoon.