India unveils world's tallest statue at a cost of $610 million

Hannah Rogers
October 31, 2018

Modi would also inaugurate the "Wall of Unity" (a monument defining India's unity) near the statue.

The statue depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India's first Home Minister, wearing a traditional dhoti and shawl, towering over river Narmada.

The Prime Minister said Sardar Patel, a veteran administrator, had also popularised the idea of cooperative housing societies.

A campaign called "Loha" was launched to collect iron from all over the country to build the statue of Sardar Patel.

The launch of the giant statue, which stands almost twice the height of New York's 305-ft tall Statue of Liberty, is widely seen as the unofficial launch of Mr Modi's re-election campaign.

Mr Modi, whose nationalist government has made the statue one of its flagship projects ahead of a national election next year, arrived in Gujarat's main city of Ahmedabad on Tuesday night.

The Statue of Unity stands tall at a record-breaking height of 182 metres (597 ft).

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Bowers was also charged under state law with criminal homicide, aggravated assault and ethnic intimidation. Police arrived and confronted Bowers as he tried to exit the building, and two officers were injured.

The project was commissioned by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2010, when he was the state's chief minister. It was designed by Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar.

"Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India", said Modi who hailed Sardar Patel's "strategic thinking" in bringing together the disparate country after independence in 1947 and the Statue of Unity as "a symbol of our engineering and technical prowess".

Workers give the finishing touches to the world's tallest statue dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, overlooking the Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara.

On Wednesday, Modi said Patel was a beacon of hope for India in the time of crisis and he will be a source of inspiration for ages to come.

However, the CPI flayed the Narendra Modi government for "splurging" almost Rs 3,000 crore on building Sardar Patel's huge statue at a time when debt-ridden farmers are "being driven to suicide" and millions of people are defecating in the open for want of sanitation facilities. The statue and the amenities surrounding it were built at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore.

Apart from the gallery, a museum is dedicated to Sardar Patel, at the base of the structure which will have 40,000 documents, 2,000 pictures and a research centre.

The Gujarat government expects the statue to boost tourism, with one estimate putting the daily numbers at 15,000.

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