2014 BUDGET

Rs 200 crore for the Sardar statue is less than a tenth of the total amount it needs

But there is perhaps a more pressing problem: sourcing material.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley today announced an allocation of Rs 200 crore for the Statue of Unity, a figure of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel that could be the world’s tallest when completed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation for the statue at a site only four kilometres downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada River in October 2013, during his election campaign.

Jaitley’s allocation will certainly not be enough. The proposed budget for the statue is Rs 2500 crore, which Gujarat officials said would be funded by private and public money. In 2011, it had collected only Rs 55 crore. There are no figures available on how much its donation drive last year collected.

But even if it does get adequate funding, the project has a far more basic issue: lack of material. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited, which is coordinating the project, was unable to work out how to source the amount of iron ore required for a 597-foot sculpture.

Citizens for Accountable Governance, an NGO that worked closely with the Bharatiya Janata Party on its election campaign, came to the rescue last August. It proposed a collection drive of iron tools from farmers across the country. While some states such as Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat responded eagerly, others such as Rajasthan and Karnataka were not very generous. In December, Modi led a convoy of 1,000 trucks to collect iron from across the country. But the iron collected was not used because of questionable quality.

According to the Indian Express last week, even those collections have dried up since the CAG stopped monitoring the program in January. The last truck came from Ahmedabad towards the end of April.

Turner Construction, the company which also worked on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, is a consultant for the project.

The statue will be the world’s tallest when completed only if the Shivaji statue to be built along the coast of Mumbai – which is supposed to be 624 feet – has not come up by then; even that has no central funding yet. Let the statue games begin.

 
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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.