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Ladakh standoff: Congress supporters want to dismantle Statue of Unity amid call to boycott Chinese products

The ‘Statue of Unity’, the tallest statue in the world built as a tribute to one of India’s greatest leaders – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – was actually constructed by the engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in India and not in China.

In the backdrop of Ladakh standoff and military aggression by China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, many celebrities including education reformer Sonam Wangchuk, the inspiration behind Aamir Khan starrer 3 Idiots, had called to boycott Chinese products. Soon, Congress-friendly journalists and Congress supporters took to Twitter to spread misinformation and to demand that the Statue of Unity, world’s tallest statue in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, be dismantled.

The Wire columnist asked whether the Statue of Unity will be dismantled for the economic boycott of China. Many wanted to dismantle and demolish the statue while claiming that the statue was ‘Made in China’. Journalist Rajdeep Sardesai, too, spread the lie that the statue was made in China.
Rajdeep Sardesai’s now deleted tweet claiming Statue of Unity was made in China

Is Statue of Unity made in China

The ‘Statue of Unity’, the tallest statue in the world built as a tribute to one of India’s greatest leaders – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – was actually constructed by the engineering major Larsen & Toubro (L&T) in India and not in China.

According to the reports, the ‘Statue of Unity’ is a three-layered statue. The first and the inner-most layer has two 127-metre-high towers made of reinforced cement concrete. The second layer has been constructed using a steel mesh. Both of these layers were made in India.

The third, which is the outermost layer, has been done using a bronze cladding, which carries intricate details of Patel’s clothes, posture and facial expressions. It is this layer of the statue which was built in China.

Most importantly, when the construction of the statue began, the builders found out that none of the 15 major bronze foundries in India was capable of building these claddings. The construction giant L&T then initiated a global tender to identify a partner to build the cladding.

Finally, the China-based Jiangxi Toqine Metal Crafts Corporation, which is the world’s largest foundry, was given the work of production of around 7,000 bronze plates and panels of various sizes.

This bronze cladding work, reportedly, forms only 9 per cent of the total value of the project. “The entire statue itself is being built in India at the site and only the bronze cladding in the form of bronze plates is being sourced from China, which constitutes a negligible amount of less than 9 per cent of the total value of the project,” the company had stated in 2015.

Secondly, according to an Indian Express report, of the total 4,076 labours working at the site of the statue in two shifts, only 200 workers were from China. The labours who worked in batches for two-three months each since September 2017, were part of a team consisting a thousand workers, who were employed for cladding work. Hence, it forms only 5 per cent of the total workforce involved in erecting the Statue of Unity.

A statue which has been built with over 95 per cent of India’s workforce and also 90 per cent of the statue’s work was done by companies belonging to India.

But Congress supporters’ dislike for Sardar Patel does not let them see beyond this.

Ladakh standoff

About 5000 Chinese army personnel, under the garb of a military exercise, diverted their movement towards the Indian side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control). The current stand-off began on May 5-6 and has been continuing all along the LAC up to Sikkim. Sources told ANI that the behaviour of Chinese troops had been reminiscent of the stone pelters in Kashmir who are funded by Pakistan. The Chinese troops came armed with sticks, clubs with barbed wires and stones in an area near the Pangong Tso lake during a face-off with Indian troops there, the source revealed.

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