The world's tallest statue, the Statue of Unity dedicated to the iron man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is all set to be unveiled by PM Narendra Modi on October 31, 2018, the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel. The work of 182-meter tall statue has been completed after round the clock work by 3,400 labourers and 250 engineers at Sadhu Bet island on Narmada River in Gujarat costs Rs.3,000 crores.
- The 182-metre (597 ft) statue is the tallest in the world and is twice the size that of Statue of Liberty in New York City, which stands at 93-metres and four times the size of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. It is built from 90,000 tonnes of cement and 25,000 tonnes of iron.
- Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of Rs 2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. Gujarat government is reported to have paid more than half of that amount. The remainder came from the central government or public donations.
- Work on the statue started in December 2013 and was to be completed in 42 months. This was extended by another four months because the critical design phase took longer than expected.
- "Instead of spending money on a giant statue, the government should have used it for farmers in the district," Mr Vijendra Tadvi, a 39 year old farmer, said, adding that farmers in the area still lack basic irrigation facilities. The statue is complete and Mr Tadvi has found more work as a driver on construction sites. But he is still unimpressed by the government's largesse. All of this is about 10 kms from Mr Tadvi's village, Nana Pipaliya, in the largely poor, rural and tribal Narmada district. Many of its households continue to live in hunger, primary school enrolment has been falling and malnourishment persists, according to a report published in 2016 by the state government.
- But the government believes the memorial will boost the district's economy, as they expect about 2.5 million annual visitors.
- According to the 2011 census, some 85% of the district's working population is engaged in agriculture, a sector which is dominated by small farmers who own two to four acres of land.
- In the shadow of Patel's statue, farmers have resorted to stealing water. They say they can see the water passing by their farms through a canal that transports it from the dam, but it's illegal to divert the water so they are forced to steal it. One of the farmers said he had laid a pipe underground from the canal to his farm, adding that nearly all farmers in the area did this to survive. "We don't have any option but to take the water illegally as there are no sources of water left for us."
Modi’s penchant for talking big and doing nothing has a chilling similarity with Mussolini’s Fascist Italy is that in the Mussolini regime, politics starts to be less concerned with the act of governing people in an efficient way, for instance, in solving their economic problems. Instead, it is focused more on the spectacle of power, on the visual and impressive display of symbols, myths and rituals and impressive speeches. In terms of everyday life this takes the shape of a domination of form of visual appearance, effects over the content. It also means that politics ceases to be measured by political criteria. Politics itself assumes the form of an artistic act. Ever since Modi became CM of Gujarat in 2001 and then PM in 2014, he has done nothing for the farmers of India in general and farmers of Gujarat in particular, except doling out empty speeches. Needless to say this Rs.3,000 if spent for the benefit of farmers would have changed the course of farmer's lives in about 4 districts forever. Alas good things are rarely done.