Ahmedabad, Saturday: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off a caravan of trucks, which fanned out in different directions on a massive pan-India ‘iron tools collection’ drive from seven-lakh villages for constructing ‘Statue of Unity’, to commemorate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s stellar contribution in uniting India at the time of Independence
These trucks carrying about three-lakh empty kit boxes would visit the villages to collect specimen of soil and scrap-iron farm implements on the basis of prior intimation already sent to 1.87 village panchayats. The soil and scrap iron thus collected will be used in the Statue of Unity project, billed to the world’s tallest statue, to be constructed near the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) dam on an island in River Narmada. The volunteers accompanying the trucks are carrying the message of ‘unity despite disparity’.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Modi said that the soil is for emotional attachment of people of India, and farm implements as token of farmers’ contribution to the gigantic project. He said that Sardar Patel was also a son of the soil and had led many a satyagraha by farmers during pre-Independence days.
The Chief Minister said that the campaign is part of Gujarat Government’s initiative to unite India through people’s participation. It was as part of this campaign that 50-lakh people participated in “Run for Unity’ held simultaneously at 1,100 places in India, extending from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, on the Sardar Patel’s death anniversary on December 15 last.
He said that nearly 2-crore citizens will sign a petition, during the period the trucks take round of these villages, to make it as the world’s longest banner with a message for good governance. A large number of students will also participate in an essay competition to be held at 1.75-lakh schools in the country during the campaign and prizes will be awarded to 5,500 winning schools. While the ‘Statue of Unity’ will take shape, he said, it will lend greater strength to the country brick-by-brick.
Even as Sardar Patel is revered as ‘Iron Man of India’ for his steely resolves to achieve Swaraj (Self-Rule), Mr.Modi said that the Sardar’s other resolve for achieve Surajya (Good Governance) is yet to be achieved. He said that Gujarat is just a vehicle to implement the Sardar’s legacy across India.
Ahmedabad Mayor Minaxiben Patel exuded confidence that the unique Statue of Unity project, uniting India with local iron and soil, signed petition essay competition under one India.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included Ministers Anandiben Patel, Saurabh Patel, Pradeepsinh Jadeja, MLAs, BJP office-bearers, Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner and District Collector.