My parents' visit to Statue of Unity and the awesomeness of the project:
My parents being "my parents", they visited the Statue yesterday i.e. 3 days after inauguration. Mother conveyed this today morning, since you write, you need to know this aspect of the project. I heard and narrating it and hope this gets shared for this is just awesome - the effect on the locals.
The project has been pilloried by "liberals" for waste of money, evil RSS/BJP, Modi, Nehru sidelining, and some reports on locals not getting water but money spent on this project etc. My mother's observations just present the awesome picture of this project.
Firstly, the statue is awe inspiring, lot said about how it got built, history, material etc. Wide roads have been built to reach there and the entire complex has a feeling of "foreign tourist spot" (mum's words).
Ticket is Rs. 500 pp and for extra 30 rupees, you can get the bus ride. Bus is modern and air conditioned and you can take it to get around the complex. There is a museum at the bottom , travelators, escalators and a lift that takes you to the viewing gallery which is at chest level of the statue which is 45 floors high. The Sardar Sarovar dam looks tiny from that height.
Everything is "posh", neat and clean, great toilets etc. They also have a massive food court where food is non stop and great quality. Parents loved the entire trip and experience.
Now comes the awesome part. The entire staff working there is from the surrounding areas which were fairly poor and backward. The business are all run by local people and the complex will grow with more attractions coming on. There are young boys and girls who wear grey uniforms and work as "guides". These are from the very poor, farmer and tribal families. For the entire project, training centres have been set up to skill these people according to their interest and ability. The guides get 25K if they can speak only Gujarati, 35K if they can speak Hindi and 45K if they can also speak English. This is a Central government run place so they get sarkari jobs. Officers are constantly on the move identifying and training these folks for the different kinds of jobs.
The kids and other locals say we used to simply sit around till this project came around, we have now got jobs and amazing training as well as exposure to city people which has changed our worldview as well as life. Given us tremendous opportunities.
They are extremely happy with this project as it has transformed their lives, love Modi and cannot stop singing praises. My parents' guide was a young man who narrated all this to them, their bus driver was calling someone on mobile saying "Apply quickly for the job here and don't forget to bring your driving licence"...lot of opportunities and optimism.
People whose lands were taken for the project have been given alternative lands (cab driver my parents went with was one such) and pucca houses. One person got a land with big sinkhole which the government filled up.
There are two tent cities built on the river bank next to the statue and you can rent tents there. At night, laser shows are conducted which is a fabulous experience.
Finally, like here, you can pre book tickets online and go there so you don't need to stand in queues. All in all, a first world tourist spot created in record time apart from the greatness of the person being known to people now but also transformed so many local lives.
Well done PM and Gujarat government!!! Negative people can keep cribbing but work is work and quality is quality!!!