By Saurav Mukherjee,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’ on October 31 — built with a cost of Rs 2,989 crore. British parliamentarian calls this statue a total nonsense as Britain donated more than £1billion to India in the years for country’s development.
Condemning the blatant use of British taxpayer’s money — as foreign aid — by the Indian government, Tory MP Peter Bone was of the opinion that Britain should not contribute to India which believes in making statues than using the aid for women’s rights, funding solar panels and investment in low-carbon transport.
According to the British parliamentarian, the English taxpayer donated £1.17billion in foreign aid and Indian government utilised £330million for the construction of 597ft tall bronze memorial of Sardar Patel —‘Statue of Unity’. The statue took 56 months to complete on a bend of the Narmada river in Gujarat.
Facts show that British taxpayers donated almost £300million to India in 2012, when the engineering project started. Expressing his anguish, Bone said, as quoted by the Daily Mail Online, “To take £1.1billion in aid from us and then at the same time spend £330million on a statue is a total nonsense and it is the sort of thing that drives people mad.”
Adding more, he said, “What it proves is that we should not be giving money to India. It is up to them how they spend their money but if they can afford this statue, then it is clearly a country we should not need to be giving aid to.”
As per the official data, as Daily Mail Online points out, British donated £268million in 2013, £278 million in 2014 and £185million in 2015. Further aid was given in smaller amounts in the consecutive years. Also, £14,000 of the cash was spent in Gujarat in 2014 to ‘increase religious tolerance among young people’.
The British claim that due to land grabbing in 72 villages for the project, thousands of people were forced to leave their houses and it gave employment to only 3,500 people. Though the UK-government states that they thought of ending the foreign aid to India after 2015, yet £92.6million was spent by Whitehall officials on various projects here.
Among the aid provided, £86,616 was granted for testing whether yoga helps people who have had heart attacks and £100,000 on bringing women scientists from India to visit Cambridge University.
With revealing facts coming into the limelight, Sardar Patel’s 2000-tonne statue on Narmada banks looks nothing more than pre-Lok Sabha elections — scheduled in 2019 — agenda. Even PM Modi’s speech from the podium in Narmada in Gujarat depicted the same.
(Source: The Live Mirror)