The Statue of Unity project to commemorate the achievements of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was first announced on 7th October, 2010. On the eve of the beginning of his 10th year as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi addressed a press conference in Ahmedabad and announced the state government's plan to install Sardar Patel's 182 meter high 'Statue of Unity', 3 km away from Narmada dam at a place known as Sadhu bet.
Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET) was established as a special purpose vehicle for the Statue of Unity Project by the Government of Gujarat. Geotechnical studies, soil and strata analysis, environmental study, and other studies were carried out at ground level. A consortium of architects and designers were approached to study, design and plan the architecture and construction of the structure. Finally, Turner Project Management India Pvt. Ltd. and joint venture consortium was accorded approval to the construction consultancy contract on 21st August, 2012.
Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG) members embarked on the conceptualization and design of the entire Statue of Unity Movement. Based on the work presented by the organization, CAG was chosen as the National Movement Partner for the Statue of Unity Project in October, 2013. Resource and capability development along with volunteer recruitment was undertaken thereafter. Approximately 300 zonal and district level CAG resource persons along with 10,000 volunteers were appointed in one month since then.
Statue of Unity Orientation Programme of District and Zone Level CAG resource persons was held on 28th & 29th October, 2013 at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University in Gandhinagar. This was intended to invite them into the Statue of Unity Movement and provide them with the necessary skills to execute the movement on ground in their respective regions.
National Workshop for all stakeholders of the Statue of Unity Movement was held on 30th October, 2013 at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar. The stakeholders included representatives of political entities, faith based organizations, civil society organizations like Gujarati Samaaj, Government of Gujarat and social mobilization partners like Citizens for Accountable Governance (CAG). The representatives were from Gujarat fanning out to different states, comprising of ministers, conveners, office-bearers, Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies. Regional level discussion sessions were held to chalk out the execution plan for the movement.
Ground Breaking Ceremony for the Statue of Unity took place at Kevadia in Gujarat on 31st October, 2013, which is Sardar Patel's Birth Anniversary.. Shri Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of the Statue of Unity in the august presence of Former Deputy Prime Minister of India Shri LK Advani. Shri Advani released the book 'Hind Ke Sardar' and paid his tribute to Sardar Patel in an inspiring speech. Narendra Modi described this occasion as historic and described the Statue of Unity as a grand effort to integrate our future with our glorious history.
"Our society needs to be conscious about its history and through this statue we want to give a perspective to the future. This will be both a Prerna Teeth (centre of inspiration) and a Pravasan Dham (tourism sport) for the people this Statue is not because of the dam or because Sardar Patel belonged to Gujarat. The dream is much bigger. It will draw the world to India." Shri Modi affirmed.
Regional Workshops were held throughout the country between 24th November and 10th December. CAG conducted 1 regional workshop in each of the South, East, West and North-East regions and 2 more in the North region. These workshops were attended by leaders from different sections of society. In these workshops, leaders motivated the on-ground teams and were explained the entire construct of the movement by CAG national volunteers. Also, state teams and district teams were decided for upcoming events. Regional teams held small breakout sessions together to decide the future course of action for their states.
Delegations of the "Statue of Unity Project" from the Government of Gujarat travelled all over the country to spread the message of unity. They had been allotted the task of inviting the chief ministers, governors and people of all the states to participate in the Statue of Unity Movement. Irrespective of which party was incumbent in a particular state, the entire nation unites to pay a tribute to Sardar Patel!
In this picture: Pradeep Singh Jadeja, Minister of Gujarat State for Law called on N Kiran Kumar Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh at Camp office on 29-11-2013.
The Statue of Unity Movement Launch Video Event was held in Ahmedabad on 13th December, 2013. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi launched a video film on the 'Statue of Unity' Project, which was displayed on a 40-feet long screen specially installed at Gujarat University ground. This video film has been made for the large screen through 3D Mapping Technology for screening at different places across India.
Run for Unity was held on 15th December, 2013, the 63rd Death Anniversary of Sardar Patel. The entire nation came together to pay a tribute to the Ironman of India, by running together at the same time across 1050+ locations all over India. A World Record was set on this day, as the event witnessed the largest number of people running together in human history. Over 4.8 million people, belonging to varied age groups, demographics, religions and regions participated in the Run for Unity. Not just that, NRIs across continents also became part of this run by organizing it overseas.
The Iron Collection Drive was inaugurated on 28th December, 2013. On this day, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi 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 tools which will be used to create the World’s Tallest Statue. Prior intimation about the Collection Drive has already been sent to 1.87 lakh village panchayats. The volunteers accompanying the trucks are carrying the message of ‘unity despite disparity’.
2014 was welcomed with the start of world's biggest social mobilization event begins with a small gathering of people in a village of Chandauli district, Uttar Pradesh on the 1st of January, 2014. Over 100 farmers from the village attended the meeting, and paid tribute to the farmers leader - Sardar Vallbhbhai Patel, in the form of used farm iron, and their signature on the Suraaj Yachika. In these few months , thousands of such meetings are being held in several parts of the country, which will eventually culminating in a grand ceremony in Kevadia, Gujarat
On the 3rd of Jan, 2014, Write for Unity was launched, with invitations being sent to over 50 Lakh students across 600 districts. This extensive outreach is being undertaken to re iterate the values of Sardar Patel amongst the India's youth, as they participate in a nationwide essay and slogan writing competition. The invitation was sent to Principals of over 2 Lakh Schools, along with literature on Sardar Patel, Statue on Unity and the Statue of Unity Movement, and guideline booklet. The best entries from every school will be evaluated and awarded. The wrinning schools will recieve education funds of over Rs. 2.5 Crore.
7th of January marked the arrival of the first group photo of a Gram Panchayat members for the Photo Collage initiative. Under this, over 2 lakh elected representatives of wards and gram panchayats would get a chance to be a part of history. Their images will be collected as a sign of their contribution towards Unity and Good Governance. These images will be collated in the world's biggest collage, which will be housed within the Statue of Unity museum.