Our beloved Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, decided in 2013 to build the “Statue of Unity” – the tallest statue in the world. He will inaugurate the project on 31st October 2018. The government has allocated around Rs. 2 billion for the 182 m tall statue. Do we really need it?
The aim of the government is to boost tourism. But hardly anyone knows that only Rs. 2-2.5 crores revenue is garnered by Taj Mahal annually. Let’s assume that it will garner Rs. 2 crore on average per year. It will take a century to make up the cost. Maintenance and repairing is not taken into account as our government is least bothered about the maintaining and preserving the history.
We already have hundreds of monuments through which we can boost our morale. We have over 200 heritage sites which are in dire state. Does our government ever allocate any fund in the Budget for that? Monuments are dying for attention. The walls are getting eroded due to time and ‘pan’ streaks by our smart citizens. But, no one cares.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET)
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Gujarat government for construction of the statue. The iron needed for the statue and other structures was to be collected from farmers of villages all around India in a form of donation of their used farming instruments. SVPRET set up 36 offices across India to collect these iron instruments wherein over 500,000 Indian farmers are expected to donate. The drive was named the ‘Statue of Unity movement’. There was to be three-month-long nationwide campaign to collect iron pieces from six lakh villages to build the statue. During this period, over 5000 metric tonnes of iron were collected.
The budget of 2014 allocated 200 Crores for the statue of unity, Rs 150 Crores to the cause of women’s safety, 100 Crores for the education of young girls and 100 Crores for Muslim education centres. What does this say about the priorities of our government?
Just imagine what Sardar Vallabhai Patel would have thought about the statue if he was alive? He was such a great person who would never allow such a blatant spending of taxpayers’ money on such trivial things.