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PM Modi Inaugurates Smriti Van Memorial Dedicated to Gujarat Earthquake Victims

The grand structure is spread over 470 acres on Bhujio Hill near Bhuj town.

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India
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, 28 August inaugurated Smriti Van memorial, which celebrates the resilience shown by people during the devastating 2001 earthquake in the Kutch region of Gujarat.

PM Modi said Smriti Van is a tribute to the lost lives and the remarkable fighting spirit of the people of Kutch.

The grand structure, which is the first such memorial in the country according to a Gujarat government official, is spread over 470 acres on Bhujio Hill near Bhuj town.

It celebrates the spirit of resilience in the wake of the death of nearly 13,000 people during the earthquake on 26 January, 2001, which had its epicentre in Bhuj.

The memorial carries names of the people who lost their lives during the earthquake. It also has a state-of-the-art Smriti Van Earthquake Museum.

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PM Modi, who is on a two-day Gujarat visit, on Sunday inaugurated the first phase of the project, spread across 170 acres on the hill.

After the inauguration, Modi, accompanied by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, took a stroll inside the museum premises where officials and tour guides informed him about its various aspects.

Notably, it was PM Modi who came up with the idea of setting up such a memorial when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, officials earlier said.

The museum showcases Gujarat's topography, rebuilding initiatives and success stories after the 2001 earthquake, and informs about different kinds of disasters and future readiness for any type of disaster.

It also has a block to relive the experience of an earthquake with the help of a 5D simulator and another block for people to pay homage to the lost souls.
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Many people from Kutch district, especially from Bhuj, were among those killed in the earthquake, which had its epicentre near Chobari village of Bhachau taluka, about 20 km from Bhuj town.

One of the key attractions of this project is a special theatre where visitors can experience an earthquake through vibration and sound effects.

The museum, having eight blocks and spread across 11,500 square meters, will showcase the Harappan civilisation of this region, scientific information regarding earthquakes, Gujarat's culture, science behind cyclones and Kutch's success story after the earthquake, a government release said.

There are also 50 audio-visual models, a hologram, interactive projection and virtual reality facilities at the museum for visitors.

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Bhujio Hill was a military base for former rulers of the Kutch region. It has a 300-year-old fort, which was also repaired and restored under this project. Nearly three lakh trees were also planted on the hill using the Miyawaki method, the release said.

Other attractions include 50 check dams, a sun point and pathways with an overall length of eight kilometres, 1.2 km of internal roads, a 1 MW solar plant and parking facility for 3,000 visitors, it said.

As a tribute to 12,932 people who lost their lives in the earthquake, their names area etched on the walls of the check dams.

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