One of my friends looked very sad recently. He told me in dull voice, “What man! So much money wasted for building a statue. Couldn’t they have just used the money for feeding some hungry people? Just imagine how many hungry people could have been fed through that money.”
I asked him, “Why don’t you feel sad when your employer and many other employers prefer their offices in the main parts of the city despite the fact that the rent is very high in posh areas. As a result they have to go for smaller spaces (to save on rent) and therefore, space inside the office is often a constraint. Due to this lack of space, life safety is compromised (due to fire risk) as people store material in server rooms, electrical rooms, etc.”
I continued while he was listening, “Also, the employees in metropolitan cities struggle to get sufficient parking spaces. The rent paid by employers for offices in posh localities can be saved significantly by moving to areas with lower rent. And then, you may suggest your employer to give that money (saved rent) to the needy people. Will you do that?”
He smiled, “No dear, I won't go to my employer for this”. Discussion ended.
Such criticism is often passed on from one person to another without sufficient analyses. Those who care for hungry people or needy people continue to contribute, however; begging has increased. Educated beggars are already there in the market. They are well dressed and speak English based on customer type and ask for help (money) in the name of disease, hunger, shelter, travel ticket etc.
In my opinion, Statue of Unity is not a waste of money. Instead, it created earning opportunities for certain people and is expected to continue to do so. Following are some categories of people who I think got benefited from Sardar Patel Statue of Unity:
Under Construction Stage
What do you mean by money spent? Normally, it means you gave it to someone for something in exchange. In this case, Sardar Patel Statue was built using some material (for e.g. steel, cement, bronze, etc.) therefore the money would have, directly or indirectly, gone to the suppliers, manufacturers, contractors, architects, engineers, labor etc.
There is normally a requirement for travel arrangements (cabs, buses), food supplies and other important needs for the employees/workers. Consultants, Surveyors, Auditors visiting from outside create opportunities for earning for the travel agents. Thus, someone earns.
After Construction and Successful Opening
Opportunities of employment for some people will be generated through the parts of the project such as ‘Shrestha Bharat Bhavan’, Museum and Audio Visual Gallery, Laser/Light/Sound Show, and Research Center. We all know how local people benefit through tourism and Statue of Unity has boosted the tourism in the region.
A financial express report said that the Statue of Unity was visited by 2.79 lakh visitors in the first month and generated revenue of 6.38 Cr. from ticket sales. As per a business standard report, the tourist count to Gujarat per year is expected to touch 75 million by 2020 and statue of unity is expected to be one of the reasons for this growth.
Apart from tourism, the Operation and Maintenance requirements for the Statue of Unity Project is expected to require some people. Permanent or temporary shop owners around and on the way to such sites also get benefited.
Not to forget, some insurance company might have got the business of insuring various contractors and the project site during construction stage. Some insurance company might have earned insurance (premium) opportunity after construction of the statue. We know that the salary of employees (working for insurance companies) comes from such premium amounts.
Through these points I don’t mean that government should forget everything and construct more and more statues. All I want to say is – Constructing this particular statue was not a ‘total waste of money’. While the tallest statue in the world is a matter of pride for all Indians but it also created opportunity for concerned people to work and earn.
Author - Archit
लाभस्तेषां जयस्तेषां कुतस्तेषां पराजयः I येषामिन्दीवरश्यामो हृदयस्थो जनार्दनः II