The Statue of Unity, unveiled on 31 October to mark the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, has already become a tourist destination. The rush of people to the Sardar Patel statue has also been facilitated by the ongoing holidays to mark Deepawali followed by the Gujarati New Year the next day and then the Bhaidooj festival followed by the weekend.
More than 18,000 people have visited the 182-metre statue erected on Sadhu island on the western bank of Narmada river, 3 kilometres downstream of the multipurpose dam at the tri-junction of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The highest ticket collection in a single day has been recorded at Rs 36 lakh, with 11,219 people visiting the Sardar Patel statue the day before Diwali.
Due to the heavy rush of visitors, the Gujarat government has issued an advisory about restrictions on the number of people the site can accommodate per day, and also the limited capacity of the two lifts that take visitors to the viewing gallery at the chest level of the world’s tallest statue. People have also been advised to avoid crowding at the Statue of Unity site.
The daily quota of number of people visiting the observation deck has been fixed at 5,000 only, according to a statement from the information department.
Meanwhile, tourists visiting the Statue of Unity have complained of improper planning at the fast emerging tourism destination in Gujarat, pointing out lack of parking facilities, covered waiting areas and separate lanes for vehicles and pedestrians.
“Did they really want people to visit the monument?We were standing 3 hours straight in the heat on the road for 16 buses that’d cater to approximately 10k people at a time since private vehicles weren’t given direct entry clearly highlighting lack of parking provision,” Twitter user @kosha_shah11 posted on the micro-blogging site on 9 November.
She also posted photographs of the tourist centre showing lack of facilities, and blamed the government for opening a “world record breaker monument to the public with half planned proposals”.
Yesterday i visited world’s biggest statue and talking about the user experience that comes with this Incredibly huge 182 m high national monument, we came across this. Obviously looking at these pictures, we’d blame our people and our ethics. But there’s more to it. pic.twitter.com/8lVUGtd4i4
— Kosha (@kosha_shah11) November 9, 2018
And you CANNOT blame population explosion for the mismanagement because that is the only excuse in the running and it’s high time the government needs to consider this while approving designs. Here’s what the tourist centre and facilities there looked like at the #StatueOfUnity pic.twitter.com/NOdiBHu0Ed
— Kosha (@kosha_shah11) November 9, 2018
She was not alone. Another user tweeted this: “Very bad experience at statue of unity, sardar sarovar.Pick and drop facilities are very poor. Got frustrated people were in queue for more than 2 hrs .Is it worth just for 5 min drive.Was expecting good service from Gujarat.”
Very bad experience at statue of unity, sardar sarovar.Pick and drop facilities are very poor. Got frustrated people were in queue for more than 2 hrs .Is it worth just for 5 min drive.Was expecting good service from Gujarat. @GujaratTourism @vijayrupanibjp @PMOIndia @SrBachchan pic.twitter.com/JWJxmoRVal
— vivek (@viveksaraf22) November 9, 2018
“Thousands people waiting in a line in such scorching heat for statue of Unity. Hope we will have better facilities in coming time.. Please make some better arrangements for the Tallest statue of The World,” posted yet another Twitter user.
@narendramodi_in @vijayrupanibjp @StatueOfUnity @AmitShah @ Thousands people waiting in a line in such scorching heat for statue of Unity. Hope we will have better facilities in coming time.. Please make some better arrangements for the Tallest statue of The World. pic.twitter.com/SEg7jJVbag
— Harshad Vayeda (@TheHardy135) November 10, 2018
Seema Darshan at Pakistan border
The Gujarat government also intends to develop its barren border with Pakistan as a tourist destination, being marketed as ‘Seema Darshan’. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani visited Nandabet in Banaskantha district bordering Pakistan on Deepawali to spend time with jawans of the Border Security Force (BSF). About 10 lakh people have visited Nandabet for ‘Seema Darshan’ ever since then CM Narendra Modi spent a day at the site along with BSF jawans.