In an attempt to generate public opinion against the proposed Rs 2,500 cr statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai today announced a contest and appealed the people to come up with better ideas to commemorate Patel.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi had recently approved Rs 2,500 crore to build 182-metre tall statue of Sardar Patel and the surrounding areas.
It is a dream project of Modi to commemorate Sardar Patel, the first home minister of India who is credited for uniting the country after the Britishers left.
The statue called "Statue of Unity" would be the tallest in the world.
"The newspapers recently reported that chief minister of Gujarat has generously allocated Rs 2,500 crore to commemorate Sardar Vallabbhai Patel. If Sardar Patel were here today, he would have wished for all Gujaratis to decide on how best to use this huge sum of money," Sarabhai said.
"I am therefore inviting all Gujarat dwellers to think of how this generous amount can best be utilised for the benefit of all Gujaratis, especially the poor, hungry and weak," Sarabhai said.
"I am announcing a contest, offering Rs 1 lakh for the most innovative and civic-minded idea from the people of Gujarat," she said and added that "the winner's entry will be sent to the chief minister and the government to let them know the people's will. "
Sarabhai, a known critic of Modi, said that in democracy when the government is spending such a huge amount of taxpayers money on a statue, this contest will be like a referendum.
"My suggestion is to spend Rs 2,500 crore to provide clean drinking water through a scheme which can be named after Sardar Patel. This will be a greater tribute according to me instead of a statue," Sarabhai said.
A national level panel will judge the top three winners of this contest. There will also be a people's winner arrived at through a public poll, Sarabhai announced.
To officially enter the contest one will have to post an original comment on www.Facebook.Com/celebratingsardarpatel.
Apart from the statue, which will come up on a small island on the Narmada River near Sardar Sarovar Dam, the state government's project also include a bridge from Kevadia Colony to the statue, a convention centre, a memorial garden, an amusement park and a hotel.
Besides, there are also plans to connect Vadodara city to the site of statue by metro rail and a four-lane highway.
Mallika Sarabhai Opposes Construction of Patel's Statue
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