UK MP calls idea of building Statue of Unity ‘nonsense’, says Britain should not give aid to India

New Delhi     Last Updated: November 7, 2018

A British MP criticised India’s 182-metre Statue of Unity of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as “total nonsense”. Conservative Party MP Peter Bone said, “To take 1.1billion pounds in aid from us and then at the same time spend 330 million pounds on a statue is a total nonsense and it is the sort of thing that drives people mad.”

Bone is referring to Britain’s donation of over 1.17 billion pounds (over Rs 9,492 crore) to India as foreign aid in the course of over five years. Though funds were given for various social projects, including women’s rights issues, renewable energy projects, and to encourage “religious tolerance”, the UK MP believes that it wasn’t required as India could have easily afforded money for such projects had it not invested around Rs 3,000 crore on the 2,000-tonne statue.

The Tory parliamentarian added, “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.”

Some of Britain’s Members of Parliament, too, are of the view that if India can afford to spend over Rs 2,989 crore on building the statue of the freedom fighter, which is twice the height of the State of Liberty in the US, Britain should not give funds to India at all.

As per the report, the UK donated 300 million pounds to India in the year 2012 when the project was started. India received 268 million pounds in 2013, 278 million pounds in 2014, and 185 million in 2015.

Critics in the British country believe that since India is the world’s fastest growing economy, and is the leader on several fronts, including business and space, it should not be given foreign aids. They maintain that India already gives more money to several poorer countries across the world than it receives as foreign donations, despite having a vast majority of the population living in poverty.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world’s tallest statue on October 31 on ardar Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary. The Statue of Unity was constructed by construction and engineering company, Larsen & Toubro Ltd, on the islet of Sadhu Bet. At 182 metre, the mammoth replica of Sardar Patel is the world’s tallest statue, leaving behind USA’s Statue of Liberty (93 metre), Japan’s Ushiku Daibutsu (120 metre) and even China’s Spring Temple Buddha (153 metre) statues. The statue has been built to withstand winds of 180km/hour and earthquakes of up to 6.5 Richter scale. Business Today )