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The Contention Behind The Construction And Unveiling Of The Statue Of Unity

Vaishali brings out the contentious issues regarding the Statue of Unity project and underlines the various fallout of the project on the environment

The Statue Of Unity is a monumental and towering figure of the most extraordinary and gallant freedom fighter India has ever had; Sadar Vallabhai Patel who is also popularly known as the Iron Man of India.  It is tallest statue of the world with a height of 597ft and is located in Vadodara, Gujarat on an island facing towards the Sadar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river.

The project regarding the erection of the Statue Of Unity was first proposed by Narendra Modi back in 2010 when he was the CM of Gujarat. The construction began in 2013 which gradually was accomplished on October 30, 2018 and was inaugurated by Narendra Modi on the 31st of October 2018. The statue would not only reflect a sense of patriotism and pride but at the same time would serve as a tourist attraction generating huge national income and employment opportunities as per promised by the government.
Soon after the inauguration, the total cost of the statue (2989 crore) had taken the world by storm when people all over the globe and especially Indians strongly started to condemn and denounce its government for squandering and misusing a massive amount of public money by the Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) for the construction of the statue at the cost of the tribal’s possessions and rights in Gujarat who protested tooth and nail to oppose the government’s encroachment of their indigenous land to boost tourism. The government in the name of development and increasing tourism to escalate employment facilities and raising funds for the state has stripped the local tribal of their priceless habitat and land which eventually led to tribal resentment and uprising in the form of hartals, bandhs and protests against the government to compensate and rehabilitate almost everything they have lost in the process.

Social media played a major role in expressing great abhor and despise over the Government’s decision of splurging about 420 million on statue which could have used in poverty alleviation, tribal acceleration and various other developmental  programmes for the country like education and agricultural and irrigation schemes, aiding various states affected by cyclones, floods and other natural calamities. Villagers and tribal people across the state continue to suffer and endure water deprivation for irrigation leading to their crop failure and poverty and some rely on rain water to get through droughts.  According to various sources thousands of farmers are in a state of hue and cry to have access to water for irrigation purpose. Therefore, agricultural growth has been stagnant since then which in turn has compelled the local farmers to resort to illegally take water from the canals for their survival. On the side note, in the same line, there have been a huge array of controversies with regard to the purpose behind the construction of the statue as BJP claimed to restore and carry on with Patel’s legacy while it blamed the Congress for overlooking and sidelining Patel’s contributions in the process of keeping alive the pseudo-supremacy of Nehru’s family till date.

 

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