Patel's 'Statue of Unity' faces opposition from environmentalists

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Ahmedabad, Nov 10: BJP's prime ministerial candidate and Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi's dream project of erecting the tallest statue of the "Iron Man of India", Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is facing a 'green hurdle'.

According to reports, Patel's 'Statue of Unity' project is yet to get mandatory environmental clearances.

On Thursday, environmental activists had written to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), saying several environmental provisions are being flouted and the project should be stopped.

In the letter addressed to the environment secretary, the activists have mentioned that the project is "illegal and violates" the Environment Protection Act, 1986; environmental impact assessment (EIA) notification of September 2006 and a few orders given by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) and other courts.

Environmental scientist Mahesh Pandya said, "According to the Environment Protection Act, it is mandatory that an environmental impact and assessment must be done and environment public hearings must happen. Our objection here is that the state government is itself the violator in this case."

Is is being said that the proposed-182 metre tall 'Statue of Unity' will be in "eco-sensitive zone".

The environment ministry has said that they are looking into the issue.

Environmentalists have alleged that a comprehensive assessment and public consultation of the environmental and social impact of the project on activities of the people has not been done.

Patel's statue is not only facing environmentalists' hurdle, but even the nearby residents have voiced their opposition.

One of the resident said,"If Modi wants to unite the country, farming must be kept alive. Farmers should not be moved."

While laying the foundation stone for the project on October 31, Modi had said, "My adivasi brothers have the right to water and they will get it. It is their right. Similarly, people staying along the left bank of the river too will get Narmada water for irrigation."

Meanwhile, the environment ministry has said that they are looking into the issue. In a couple of days, ministry will decide whether to send an inquiry team to Gujarat or issue a notice to the state government.

The proposed statue that will be constructed on an expenditure of Rs 2063 crore, is expected to be completed in four years.

OneIndia News

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