Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a nation-wide campaign to collect small pieces of iron from farmers for using it to build the proposed 'Statue of Unity' in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"On the day of Sardar Patel's birth anniversary on October 31, 2013, we will launch a nation-wide campaign, covering more than five lakh villages throughout the country to collect small pieces of iron of any tool used by farmers from each village, that will be used in the building the statue," Modi said here before his inaugural address at the all India conference on livestock and dairy development.
Statue of Unity, touted to be the tallest statue on the earth, is one of the most ambitious project of the Modi government in which a 182 metres (392 feet) tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel -Iron Man of India- will be built opposite Sardar Sarovar Dam over Narmada river in south Gujarat.
"Sardar Patel brought the nation together. But gradually his memories are fading away. To reinvigorate his memory and as a fitting tribute to the Iron Man of India, we are building this statue, which will be double in height than the Statue of Liberty in New York," Modi said.
"Sardar Patel was also a farmer who was instrumental in bringing farmers into the freedom struggle. We are urging all farmers of the nation to donate a small piece of iron out of their tools which were used in farming," he appealed.
"After collecting iron from the farmers of the country it will be melted and used, as needed, to build the statue which will be the greatest tribute to the architect of modern India," he added.
On the occasion, Modi addressed the delegates, mostly from the field of farming, dairy and cattle breeding, who came from more than 20 states.