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Modi’s Statue of Unity is a non-starter

Vadodara, June 25 (): Modi’s dream to build the Statue of Unity said to be the world’s tallest statue on the Narmada river, seems to have flopped.

A body called SSNNL (Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd ) which is in charge of the project has a godown in Vadodara, where the iron coming from all parts of India is to be kept. Over the last two months, it has been kept locked after a truck from Ahmedabad came in.

The farmers were to contribute iron tools that are not in use and soil from the fields for which their name will be written in satin scroll. SSNL godown has put a board of mobile nos of three officers who can be contacted in case anyone wants to contribute. So far, 16 States have not responded to Modi’s call including BJP-ruled Rajasthan.

Not one carton came from north-east states and SSNL is waiting for kits to come from Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand. Karnataka has managed to send five resource kits, and 386 from BJP-ruled Goa.

Uttar Pradesh has bettered Modi’s Gujarat and contributed 40,000 kits. Modi’s home turf Gujarat comes in the second place with 33,000 kits. In the South, Tamil Nadu sent 12,000; Chandigarh, Bihar, and Chhattisgarh had sent 10,000 each.

Sources said the idea to collect iron for the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was on the lines of the drive to collect bricks for the Ayodhya Ram temple. CAG (Centre for Accountable Governance), an NGO was given the job and in January it quit saying it has finished the job given to them.

The NGO came after SSNL who was entrusted with the project three years ago, could not draw up a plan. CAG came up with the idea of the plan to collect iron and soil for the project and that it will involve the people and also create a hype.

CAG conducted workshops all over India. In December, Modi flagged off a convoy of trucks that were to travel to seven lakh villages and come with kits.

SSNL godown has 1.26 lakh kits but CAG claims that 700 tonnes of iron and three lakh kits were collected. CAG now says that it was not given the job to do the collection. SSNL was to open technical bids on January 10 and till now nothing has happened.

Sources say that the Statue was an election plank and as it served the purpose, is no more a priority.