When Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the tallest statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, it was certainly too late to pay homage to the freedom fighter and that too this piquant way. The idea did not get appreciation from the locals who were reportedly displaced by the colossal 182-metre high statue.
The British are said to have described the statue of unity as “total nonsense”.
The British reportedly donated over 1.17 billion pounds (over Rs 9,492 crore) to India as foreign aid in the course of over five years it took to build the colossal bronze statue on a bend of the Narmada River in Gujarat.
Though funds were said to have been given for various social projects, including women’s rights issues, renewable energy projects and to encourage “religious tolerance”, the UK leaders think it should not have done so as India could have easily afforded money for such projects had it not invested around Rs 3,000 crore on the 2,000-tonne statue.
Its Members of Parliament are said to be of the view that if India can afford to spend over Rs 2,989 crore on building the statue of the freedom fighter, Britain should not give funds to India at all.
“To take 1.1 billion pounds in aid from us and then at the same time spend 330 million pounds on a statue is a total nonsense and it is the sort of thing that drives people mad,” Conservative Party MP Peter Bone said on November 2, reported Daily Mail.
He added that the UK should do away with giving aids to India.
“It is up to them how they spend their money but if they can afford this statue, then it is clearly a country we should not need to be giving aid to,” said the Tory Parliamentarian reportedly.
As per the report, the UK donated 300 million pounds to India in the year 2012 when the project was started. India received 268 million pounds in 2013, 278 million pounds in 2014, and 185 million pounds in 2015.
Critics in the British country believe that since India is the world’s fastest growing economy and is the world leader on several fronts, including business and space, it should not be given foreign aids. They maintain that India already gives more money to several poorer countries across the world than it receives as foreign donations, despite having a vast majority of the population living in poverty.
The Statue of Unity was constructed by construction and engineering company, Larsen & Toubro Limited. At 182 metre, the mammoth replica of Sardar Patel is the world’s tallest statue, leaving behind USA’s Statue of Liberty (93 metre), Japan’s Ushiku Daibutsu (120 metre) and even China’s Spring Temple Buddha (153 metre) statues. The statue has been built to withstand winds of 180km per hour and earthquakes of up to 6.5 Richter scale.
So Prime Minister Modi can relax and enjoy the glory of building the tallest statue in the world, but no more.
…..By Amit Mittal………