Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi today flagged off around 1,000 trucks, which will go to various parts of the country for 'iron tool collection' from seven-lakh villages for the construction of the gigantic statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
"These trucks carrying about three-lakh empty kit boxes would visit the villages to collect soil and scrap-iron farm implements on the basis of prior intimation already sent to 1.87 lakh village panchayats," an official release said here. "The soil and scrap iron thus collected will be used in the Statue of Unity project, billed as the world's tallest statue, to be constructed near the Sardar Sarovar Project dam on an island in river Narmada," it said.
Modi had laid foundation stone for statue on October 31.
On the occasion, Modi today said that the soil symbolised emotional attachment of people of India, and farm implements as token of farmers' contribution to the statue.
Sardar Patel, the first home minister of independent India, was also a son of the soil and had led many a satyagraha by farmers during pre-Independence days, he noted.
Modi said nearly two crore citizens will sign a petition, as the trucks go from village to village, to make the world's longest banner with a message for good governance.
A large number of students are expected to participate in an essay competition to be held at 1.75-lakh schools during the campaign, he said.
"Even as Sardar Patel is revered as `Iron Man of India' for his steely resolve to achieve `Swaraj' (self-rule), his other resolve for `Surajya' (good governance) is yet to be achieved," Modi said.