Friday, June 21, 2013

The iron pieces collected from farmers cannot be used for building the Sardar statue, "clarifies" top Modi aide

By Rajiv Shah
In a major setback to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's proposal to collect iron from farmers all over India to build the Statue of Unity in the name of Sardar Patel in the downstream of the Narmada dam, a a top aide of the Gujarat CM has said that the iron from the farmers “cannot be used for constructing the world's highest statue.”
The aide, who wanted not to be named, told www.counterview.net that the “iron collected from the farmers will obviously be of different types and suspected quality. Some of it may be simply scrap or junk. Obviously, it cannot be used for constructing a quality Sardar statue.” 
He added, “Quality metal, instead, would need to be for constructing the 182 metre high statue in order to ensure that it lasts for generations to come. Things will become clear once technical consultation of the project is over.”
The aide further said, “We have already begun to contact different non-government organisations (NGOs), who are wedded to the ideas of the Sardar, to organise farmers and bring together iron at one place. Rotary clubs and However, the iron that they will donate will be used for peripheral areas around the Sardar Statue, where picnic facilities are proposed to be developed.”
The aide informed www.counterview.net that the proposal is to identify three or four places all over India where the farmers will be asked to donate iron. “We are in the process of identifying these spots. But one of the spots is likely to be the Kevadia Colony, where the Narmada dam is situated, and where the Sardar Statue is proposed to be erected.”
According to government insiders, the Statue of Unity project will cost the coffers around Rs 2,500 crore, or perhaps more. Clearly, if the Modi aide is to be believed, the iron collected from the farmers is unlikely to go to bring down the actual cost of the Sardar statue. It will, at best, serve as a symbolic gesture for Modi's plan to use the Sardar for electoral gain, ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Already, Modi's idea of “collecting” iron from farmers all over India to build the Statue of Unity has caught into political controversy. Modi had said in June second week that a nationwide campaign would be launched to collect small pieces of iron from farmers for using it to build the proposed Statue of Unity in the memory of Sardar Patel.
"On the day of Sardar Patel's birth anniversary, October 31, 2013, we will launch a nationwide campaign, covering more than five lakh villages throughout the country to collect small pieces of iron of any tool used by farmers from each village, that will be used in the building the statue," Modi had said at a meeting in Gandhinagar with dairy and livestock farmers and dairy developers.
Modi had said, "Sardar Patel brought the nation together. But gradually his memories are fading away. To reinvigorate his memory and as a fitting tribute to the Iron Man of India, we are building this statue, which will be double in height than the Statue of Liberty in New York".
"Sardar Patel was also a farmer who was instrumental in bringing farmers into the freedom struggle. We are urging all farmers of the nation to donate a small piece of iron out of their tools which were used in farming," he had appealed. "After collecting iron from the farmers of the country it will be melted and used, as needed, to build the statue which will be the greatest tribute to the architect of modern India," he had added.
In the meanwhile, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh attacked Modi for launching a drive to collect iron from villages across the country for constructing a grand statue of Sardar Patel. "BJP had earlier launched a drive to collect bricks and sought donations for the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya, but later sold them. Now they will collect iron pieces from across the country and sell it too," Singh said, recalling  that Sardar Patel had banned the RSS after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.

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