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Work on Statue of Unity to start soon

Work on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious project, the 182-metre Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Statue, called the Statue of Unity project, in Gujarat’s Narmada district is likely to begin soon. Price bids for construction contracts would be out in a month, said sources close to the development.

The state government has handed over the responsibility for building the statue, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Kevadiya Colony of Narmada district, to the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), chaired by the chief minister of Gujarat. The contract for the construction of the statue was to be awarded in December last year. However, things got delayed owing to the Lok Sabha elections.

A senior official of SVPRET said, “The price bids for the construction are to be opened soon. Work related to the collection of iron from farmers across India’s villages is on track.” Tenders related to design, engineering, procurement, construction, operation and maintenance of the statue were floated in August last year.

According to another official close to the development, several engineering and construction majors are in the fray for securing the contract and this even includes some international names. He did not give out names, however, but indicated some Chinese majors are also interested.

SVPRET has appointed a consortium comprising Turner Project Management India Private Limited as the lead member, Meinhardt India Private Limited and Michael Graves & Associates Inc. to provide the design, engineering, project management and construction management services for the Statue of Unity project. Many of the consortium members have been involved in the making of some of the world’s tallest structures.

The Statue of Unity is amongst the tallest statue projects in the world. According to the project website, it is double the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York, five times the height of the Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro and one and a half times the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam itself.

The 182-metre tall statue will come up over a 19,700 square metre project area, and will be surrounded by an enormous 12 km-long man-made lake. There would be a memorial garden, a bridge connecting the Sadhu island (a natural island in the Narmada on which the statue would stand) with the mainland, hotel and convention center. The state government plans to develop the nearby tribal areas as well as boost tourism around the Statue of Unity project. Therefore, there are plans to develop schools and colleges in the area, besides an education research centre and knowledge city. The banks of the Narmada would be developed up to Bharuch, together with development of road and rail as well as other tourism infrastructure.

Only recently, the new chief minister of the state, Anandiben Patel met Union Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley in New Delhi and sought national project status for the statue project, urging central assistance for its speedy execution.

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