India on Wednesday unveiled the world’s tallest statue in the western state of Gujurat in celebration of her unity.
Towering at 182 metres, the Statue of Unity is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a hero of India’s freedom struggle and the country’s first deputy prime minister.
Patel, a Gujarati, was known as the ‘Iron man of India’ as he went about persuading all the princely states to join the Indian union after independence from British rule in 1947.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also hails from Gujarat, dedicated Patel’s statue to the people of India on the 142th birth anniversary of the statesman’s birth.
The record-breaking monument, which towers over the Narmada River, was built at a cost of 29.89 billion rupees (430 million dollars).
Based on award-winning sculptor Ram Sutar’s creation, the statue was built by engineering firm Larsen and Toubro.
The bronze statue, which depicts Patel wearing the traditional Indian attire of a dhoti and a shawl, took 33 months to build and involved 250 engineers and 3400 workers, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.
“To build this statue, [hundreds of thousands) of farmers from all over India came together to donate their tools, portions of their soil and a mass movement developed around the statue,” Modi said in his speech.
Thousands of policemen guarded the venue during the inauguration, as local tribal people have been holding protests in recent months claiming the project had destroyed natural resources, the Times of India newspaper reported.
The 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China had previously held the record for tallest statue.
India has overtaken the Netherlands as Nigeria’s major export trading partner in the second quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The NBS had ranked the Netherlands as the country’s leading export trading partner in Q1 2018, having recorded N963.5 billion in value of exported commodities.
But the latest Foreign Trade Statistics by the bureau showed that 16.19 percent of the Nigeria’s Q2 2018 export trade worth N722.6 billion was moved to India against N457.6 billion worth of commodities exported to the Netherlands in the review quarter.
It said other major export destinations of the country include Spain, South Africa and United States with value of commodities at N426.1 billion or 9.6 percent, N359.8 billion or 8.1 percent and N306.5 billion or 6.9 percent respectively.
“In the reviewing quarter, mineral products accounted for N4,275.3 billion or 95.8% of the total export from Nigeria. This category of export was dominated by Crude Oil exports which contributed N3,728.4 billion or 83.5% of total exports,” it added.
According to the statistics bureau, the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade dropped from N7.21 trillion in Q1, 2018 to N6.57 trillion in the second quarter of 2018.
It said the contraction of total trade in the reviewing quarter was mainly driven by the decline in both
imports and exports.
“The trade balance in Q2, 2018 was a surplus of N2,356.60 billion, which is an 8.36% increase from the
figure in Q1, 2018 (N2,174.60 billion) and a 399.82% increase from the figure in Q1, 2017 (N471.48 billion),” it said.
“Total Imports value was N2,106.7 billion in Q2, 2018, -16.3% lower than Q1, 2018 (N2,518.26 billion) and –
19.9%% lower than Q1, 2017 (N2,631.65 billion),” the NBS said.
The top five import destinations for Nigeria were China, Netherlands, Belgium, India and United States which respectively accounted for N531.6 billion or 25.2 percent, N181 billion or 8.6 percent, N170.9 billion or 8.1 percent, N145.0 billion or 6.9 percent and N141.5 billion or 6.7 percent.
The bureau further said, “Total export value amounted to N4,463.3 billion in Q2, 2018, representing a contraction of -4.9% over Q1, 2018 (N4,692.86 billion) and a growth of 43.8% over Q2, 2017 (N3,102.14 billion).”
Source: The Ripples