India unveils world's tallest statue celebrating key independence leader

India unveils world's tallest statue celebrating key independence leader

Posters of Modi with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani were torn down or had their faces blackened at the weekend.

The memorial has been seen as a pet project of Mr Modi, who like Patel, was born in Gujarat.

It is nearly 29 metres taller than China's Spring Temple Buddha that stands at 153 metres, and nearly twice as high as the 93-metre Statue of Liberty in NY. The state government allocated funds for the project, estimated to cost over $410 million, although monetary support was also provided by the federal government and public donations were requested by the committee overseeing the construction. Ironically the bronze cladding for the Patel statue was shipped from China because Indian foundries lack the expertise and equipment to go this big.

"If Sardar Patel had not united the country, the countrymen would have needed visas to see lions in Junagadh... and "shiv bhakts" would need a visa to perform puja at Somnath temple in Gujarat or to see the Charminar in Hyderabad", PM Modi said in his 55-minute address. Referring to the "statue of unity", the PM said that Indians will be able to feel proud at the world's largest statue being built in India.

After Modi unveils the statue, three IAF planes would fly past and create the tricolour in the sky by emitting saffron, white and green colours, said an official release Tuesday. Online booking to visit the Statue of Unity has opened with a 350 rupee (S$6.55) admission fee for the 153m-high observation deck. The statue is made out of 22,500 million tonnes of cement.

"Like India's Taj Mahal or the Egyptian pyramids, which could also be argued as extravagant, Patel's statue will also have a long-term value". It was designed by Padma Bhushan winning sculptor Ram V Sutar. Hundreds of Chinese have been among the 3,500 workers.

"Modi is our enemy", said Praful Vasava, a tribal activist leader who spearheaded protests against the statue. It rises out of a star-shaped, geometric base that covers the entire hill of the river island of Sadhu Bet in Gujarat.his is also the best place to get a bird's eye view of the picturesque environs of the Narmada River and its dam surrounded by the Satpura and Vindhyachal hills.

Modi inaugurated the "Statue of Unity" on the bank of the Narmada river. Instead, he tore into the Modi government, saying it's "ironic that a statue of Sardar Patel is being inaugurated, but every institution he helped build is being smashed".

"The "Statue of Unity" [of Patel] is a symbol of both the unity of hearts and the geographical integrity of our motherland".

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