Gujarat: Statue of Unity to be closed to visitors for 5 days

 Gujarat: Statue of Unity to be closed to visitors for 5 days

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The Statue of Unity (SoU) in Kevadia Colony of Narmada district will remain closed to tourists for five days from Tuesday in preparation for the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 31, the 145th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

The PM will inaugurate several peripheral tourist attractions around the SoU, including a jetty service and the water aerodrome connecting Kevadia to Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, along with addressing trainee officers of civil services at Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Adminis-tration (LBSNAA) from SoU.

The 182-metre statue, which opened for the public on October 17 after the Coivd-19 lockdown, will be temporarily closed as the administration prepares the stage for Modi’s address via video-conferencing.

Nilesh Dubey, Deputy Collector, Kevadia, and Chief Administrator of Statue of Unity, said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Kevadia on October 31 to mark the Rashtriya Ekta Divas, which is now as important as the Republic Day or Independence Day. The statue will be closed to public for five days as we are preparing the stage for PM’s floral tributes at the statue as well as to prepare for the video-conferencing address from the exhibition hall of the Statue of Unity. We need to make necessary arrangements… So we do not want visitors at that time.”

A senior official of the district administration said that Modi is expected to make a night halt at Kevadia but the final itinerary is in the works. A senior official said, “The tentative itinerary receiver from the Prime Minister’s office has clarified that a night halt is on cards to inaugurate the light show in Kevadia. He is expected to arrive in the on October 30 evening and join the Rashtriya Ekta Divas celebrations from early morning on October 31… A parade by police teams from across the country will be part of the event. While the Prime Minister will arrive in Kevadia by helicopter, he will return to Ahmedabad via the seaplane, which will be inaugurated on October 31.”

Modi is expected to inaugurate the children’s nutrition park, Kevadia Zoological Park and jungle safari, along with a jetty service downstream Narmada river from the SoU as well as the much-hyped water aerodrome service from Kevadia to Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. The projects, except the water aerodrome, were originally slated for inauguration on March 26 but was postponed due to lockdown.

On October 31, 2019, Modi addressed a gathering of probationary civil services officers at the SoU, following a week-long “joint exposure” arranged for the trainees at the tent city in Kevadia Colony, titled ‘Aarambh’. Modi, who interacted with the officers in a closed meeting and also addressed them at their valedictory function, had urged the officials to work jointly and not think of the administrative services as “a career” but as a “service to the poor”.

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