It took 35 artistes around six months to build the 25-foot-tall bronze statue of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, according to sculptor Rajkumar Pandit, who was assigned the task.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the statue in Lucknow on Wednesday.
The statue, which weighs 5 tonne, cost nearly Rs 90 lakh, top government officials said.
“I have done some small private work in Uttar Pradesh in the past, but this (Vajpayee statue) was the first (UP) government work we undertook,” said Pandit, whose work was praised by the Prime Minister.
For Pandit and his team, the next task — his second UP government assignment — would be to sculpt a 12-foot statue of former Uttar Pradesh CM Hemwati Nangan Bahuguna. “I got the contract for that along with Vajpayee’s statue,” Pandit told The Indian Express.
Pandit, originally from Bihar, said his grandfather used to make “mitti ke bartan (clay utensils)”; the family moved to Jaipur about two decades ago, and he is since then working out of the ‘Pink City’.
“The state Culture Department gave us a photograph of Atal-ji— it was a long desire to sculpt his statue, and this was a dream come true opportunity when I got the order last year. Primarily a bronze statue, it has mixed metals, including zinc, lead, tin, etc,” he said.
The tallest statue Pandit has built so far is one of Arjun, the warrior-prince from Mahabharat, “in action” — “I built that for the Rajasthan government about four years ago. It is 47 feet tall and has been installed at a stadium in Rajasthan.”
Principal Secretary, Culture, Uttar Pradesh, Jitendra Kumar told The Indian Express, “Last year we had floated an e-tender for installation of this statue and Rajkumar’s company quoted lowest price.”
The cost of the project, he said, came to approximately Rs 90 lakh.
Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday also laid the foundation stone of Atal Bihari Vajpayee Medical University. The blueprint of the proposed varsity mentions that it would built in the shape of a “Lotus”.
According to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, until the university is built its operations would be run from the campus of Ram Manohar Lohia Institute in Lucknow.
The state’s 40 medical colleges, 17 dental colleges, 299 nursing and paramedical colleges — in both semi-government and private sector — would come under the ambit of this university and would be affiliated to it, Adityanath said.
A government spokesperson said 6,210 medical students, 2,016 dental students and 12,544 nursing and paramedical students would be enrolled every year in colleges under the upcoming medical university named after Vajpayee.
“The administrative building of the medical university is being developed in the shape of the national flower ‘lotus’, which reflects the multifaceted personality of Atal,” according to a release issued by the state Medical Education Department. It stated that 50 acres have been allotted by the Lucknow Development Authority at Chak Gajaria City project on Sultanpur Road, and the project will save 65 per cent energy by using solar power.
The first phase of the project would see the development of the administrative building, an auditorium with a sitting capacity for about 1,500 people, a library with 2 lakh books and about 100 computers, museum, a guesthouse with 16 rooms and four “high-level rooms”.
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