Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project of building world’s largest Statue of Unity, which proved to be a vehicle for him to connect to farmers across India, has been running late by seven months. The contract for the construction of the 182-meter Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel monument, proposed in the vicinity of Sardar Sarovar Dam in Kevadiya Colony of Narmada district, was supposed to be awarded in December 2013.
The reason for the delay is ascribed to the Lok Sabha Elections. The awarding of contracts for the ambitious project would take one more month at least. Nearly three lakhs boxes, sent to nagarpalikas across India for collection of iron tools from farmers to be used in building the statue, have been arriving at Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited godown in Vadodara and Kevadiya Colony.
The designing, engineering, procuring and construction tender in this regard was floated in August 2013. “Initially, the tender was supposed to come out in December 2012, but it is till is in the process. The construction contract will now be out within a month,” said a top-level official from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust, which is carrying out the project in coordination with the Gujarat government.
The trust has top officials from the Gujarat government as board members, with PM Narendra Modi as its chairman. The officials maintained that initially the project got delayed as bidders asked for more time to prepare proposals for the project.
Later, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was in place from the first week of March till April end. Things were supposed to start rolling from December 6, before Run For Unity on December 15. Modi laid the foundation stone for the statue on October 31, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.
Incidentally, Turner Project Management, a consortium of the North American and European companies, has been appointed as consultant for the project. Asian giants are vying to get the contract to build the world’s largest statue in Gujarat.
Civil engineering giants, including three Indians, a South Korean and a Chinese, have shown interest. Those in the fray include Shapoorji Pallonji Engineering and Constructions (India), JMC Projects (India) Limited, L&T (India) and Samsung C&T Corporation (Sourth Korea.
The Chinese firm that built Spring Temple Buddha, currently the tallest statue in the world, is also likely to be in the fray with an Indian partner. L&T, in the recent past, has done a couple of high-profile projects with the Gujarat government, including Mahatma Mandir and Swarnim Sankul-I in Gandhinagar. While Mahatma Mandir, a convention centre, is a tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, Swarnim Sankul-I houses Chief Minister’s Office in Sardar Patel Secretariat.
The statue, with a number of educational and entertainment components, will have features like bronze cladding on the statue and world’s fastest elevators. The three-level base of the statue – exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof – contains the Memorial Garden and a large exhibit hall. The observation deck at 500 ft can accommodate 200 people at a time to give panoramic view from this level. It will enable visitors to see the beautiful Satpuda & Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 256-km-long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir and the 12-km-long Garudeshwar Reservoir.