Hyderabad: Contradicting its own ‘Made in India’ policy, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday inaugurated a mega 216-foot structure worth Rs 135 crore, ‘Statue of Equality’, dedicated to 11th-century Bhakti saint Sri Ramanujacharya in Telangana- which was build by a Chinese firm. Though BJP and its ideological family, the Sangh Parivar, have always been advocating to cut down India’s dependence on Chinese goods, this move has surely raised many eyebrows on what BJP says versus what it actually does.
In order to save its face from the humiliation coming from the involvement of a Chinese firm in this prestigious project, BJP says it’s “irrelevant” where the statue was made, with Telangana party leader N.V. Subhash adding that the greater cause behind the statue is to preach humanity.
It is to be mentioned that one Indian company was also in the race to win the contract, yet, China’s Aerosun corporation was given the order in August 2015. The casting work for the statue were carried out in China and the statue was brought to Hyderabad in 1,600 pieces. To assemble this massive statue, which is the second tallest in a sitting position in the world, about 70 members from Aerosun Corporation flew down to the project site. The installation of the statue happened over 15 months between 2017-18.
The 216-feet-tall statue is made of panchaloha (an alloy comprising five metals) – copper, silver, gold, zinc, and titanium – of which copper comprises 80 per cent.
The statue, which is built on the outskirts of Hyderabad, commemorates the 11th-century Bhakti saint Sri Ramanujacharya on his 1,000th birth anniversary and was conceptualised by spiritual guru Chinna Jeeyar Swamy – who also belongs to the Ramanujacharya Ashram.
“Ramanujacharya was a great social reformer in the 11th century who preached equality and humanity. That is what matters here. It does not matter whether it is made in China or Africa — the idea is we are all equal, that’s the message. That is what the Prime Minister thought,” N.V. Subhash told a leading publication.
“This programme of the PM attending (the inauguration) was not decided in days. It has been on for six months now – all kinds of discussions may have happened and only then he came here,” he said.
TRS surrounds BJP over Statue of Equality
A state ruling party Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) also surrounded BJP over the ‘Statue of Equality’. Showing his displeasure, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao skipped the inauguration, while his son and IT Minister K.T. Rama Rao targeted PM Modi, calling him an “icon of partiality”.
In its Counterattack, BJP targeted KCR as he skipped the event and failed to receive PM Modi when he arrived in the city, lashing out at the CM for “violating protocol”. However, TRS Rajya Sabha MP K. Keshava Rao told media that the CM was “down with a fever”.
Both the PM and the CM were formally invited to the inaugural ceremony by Chinna Jeeyar Swamy, who happens to be a spiritual guide of KCR.
Moreoer, the whole arrangement for the inauguration was overseen by the Telangana government.
Awarding Chinese firms huge contracts not new
This is not the first time that Chinese firms have been taken on board for huge projects as they have the required infrastructure, track record and offer cost-effective projects, pointed out M.V. Ramana Reddy, sculptor and president of Hyderabad Arts Society.
“Be it government, private or big corporate projects, they prefer to see a track record of the company if they’ve been hired for such a project before. It is not like we cannot do bronze castings here. But they want to see a track record,” Ramana Reddy said.
“Chinese companies have the infrastructure, the track record, offer cost effective projects and have minimum labour costs – which is why it is not uncommon to prefer them for such projects,” he said.
Ramana Reddy, who is also a general council member of Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, said ultimately, local sculptors are barely given a chance to work on such projects.
Interestingly, amid all this ‘Made in India’ fuzz, BJP had also joined hands with a Chinese firm for casting 553 bronze petals for the surface of world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.