Sardar of statues to cost 1K crore

The Gujarat government’s plan to have the world’s tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel about 3.2 km downstream of Narmada dam on Sadhu Tekra will cost Rs 1,000 crore. While state officials are mum on how big will be the state government’s share, they are confident that money will not be a problem as the state’s finances are ‘in order’, thanks to buoyant Gujarat economy. A senior official in the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd said, this is the “block estimate” arrived at by the state government on the basis of preliminary study on the proposed project carried out by Prof P V K Rameshwar, chairman, graduate school, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and a top Vadodara-based architect who is settled in Pune. Also being phrased as “ballpark estimate”, the official said, chief minister Narendra Modi’s plan is to involve top Gujarati industrialists, non-resident Indians and other moneybags to fund it, as he believes they will all be “interested in helping the project of international importance”. The government will also approach other states and the Centre, he said. To be a public-private partnership project (PPP), SSNNL on Thursday initiated the process of registering a society to build the 182-metre tall statue. “It will be chaired by Modi and it will appoint a project management consultant after floating tenders in consultation with CEPT University. Consultant will be appointed in six months, and the project will be implemented in three years,” the official said. Facts like the soil and the rock on which the statue will be put up — with a 60 metre pedestal and 122 metre statue — are being analysed internally by government engineers and the consultant will do the pre-feasibility job, including the type of engineering skills required to accomplish the project and selection of the contractor, the official said. A senior state government engineer said, “The Sadhu Tekra is perfectly capable of withstanding the weight of the statue, since it has survived the worst floods. It can even withstand once-in-a-hundred-year flood. However, things will be clear only after the environmental and structural studies”.

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