Saturday, 10 November 2018

L&T- built Statue of Unity turns into a tourist magnet.


India's tallest political leader, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was dedicated with World's largest statue. 182 metre tall Statue of Unity made by Mumbai based Larsen Toubro was dedicated towards the nation by PM Modi. At the launch ceremony, the Prime Minister and other dignitaries’ poured soil and Narmada water into a Kalash to mark the dedication of the ‘Statue of Unity’ to the nation. The Prime Minister pressed a lever to commence a Virtual Abhishek of the statue.

At 182 meters (597 feet), the steel, concrete and brass-clad statue is the tallest in the world and Larsen & Toubro is proud to have constructed it in a record time of 33 months. The Buildings & Factories business of the construction arm of L&T had won this prestigious EPC contract for the design and construction of the Statue of Unity from the Government of Gujarat in October 2014 and construction of the raft of the statue began in December 2015.

A statesman par excellence, Sardar Patel is widely considered as the architect of modern India, who was responsible for uniting the newly-independent nation. The Statue of Unity, on the Sadhu Bet Island, approximately 3.5 km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat now stands tall as an inspiration to future generations, a reminder of Sardar Patel’s sterling contribution and a symbol of national harmony and integrity.

The Statue Of Unity offers Museum and Exhibition centre and viewing gallery (approx 60 floor high) to tourists. This gallery, at 153 metres height, can accommodate up to 200 visitors at one time. It offers a spectacular view of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, its reservoir, and the Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.

The SoU complex comprises an exhibition centre at its base, a memorial garden, a designer bridge connecting Sadhu Island with the mainland along the Narmada River, an internal roadway of 5 km length, improvements to the existing roads /bridges/ culverts connecting the area of Sadhu Island. It also hosts an administrative complex and a star rated hotel (Shrestha Bharat Bhavan) and a conference centre.

The statue, a towering piece of engineering by L&T, is conceived as a naturalistic depiction of Sardar Patel in his characteristic garb in a walking pose. It rises out of a star-shaped, geometric base that covers the entire Sadhu Hill. The statue has a unique, slender width to height ratio, far more exacting than existing technical norms that call for special engineering considerations. The structure has two vertical cores each housing a high-speed passenger elevator. The vertical cores support the steel frames to which about 6,500 bronze panels are clad. A viewing gallery at the level at the chest, can accommodate up to 200 visitors at one go and affords a breath-taking view of the Sardar Sarovar dam and its environs.

While critics were sceptical about ROI of the Statue, the enthusiastic and nationalist people of India proved them wrong with massive turnout at Statue of Unity monument. As reported by DeshGujarat, more than 1,00,000 people visited SoU in Diwali holiday adding to approx Rs 2 crore revenue to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust. Since, the area of not yet well connecting by Public Transport, people chose to visit by cars adding to a 9km long traffic jam.

A large turnout towards SoU is now having teething troubles but this would be a learning lesson for management to rectify in the coming months. GSRTC, the state transport should also start Volvo buses every 1 hour from Surat CBS, Ankleshwar, Vadodara CBS and Ahmedabad. A few buses from Bhavnagar and Jamnagar are also in demand via RoRo service for SoU. The Govt of Gujarat or SVPRET should invest few crores in public amenities to truly make the Statue of Unity, a world-class national monument.

How To Reach Statue of Unity from Mumbai?

1. Board Dehradun Express (12.00am) from Bandra Terminus or Borivali till Surat (5.00am).
2. Board 6.00am GSRTC bus from Surat Central Bus Stn (Opp. Surat Rly Stn) to Kevadiya Colony.
3. From Kevadiya Colony, a dedicated bus for Statue of Unity is available.
4. Make sure you have reservations for all keeping in mind tourist inflow.

- Chaitanya Kulkarni

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