The Statue of Unity, a 182-metre giant structure built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, has been inaugrated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The imposing monument, touted as the world’s tallest statue, is twice the height of Statue of Liberty and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river. A thick security blanket has been thrown around Narmada district as Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive to unveil the Statue of Unity at Kevadiya ..
The world’s tallest statue, that of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a leading light of the country’s long freedom struggle against the British.
Prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the towering structure, located on an island along the Narmada river in the western state of Gujarat, on Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary.
At 182 metres (240 metres including the base), the “Statue of Unity” tops the Spring Temple Buddha (128 metres) in China that previously held the record for the world’s tallest statue. It’s also twice the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York. Built by the engineering and infrastructure firm Larsen & Toubro, using some components made in China, the statue required over 18,000 tonnes of reinforced steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze.
Born in Nadiad, Gujarat, Patel was a lawyer-turned-politician of the Indian National Congress who worked closely with Mahatma Gandhi. Following Independence, he served as the country’s first deputy prime minister and home minister. He’s remembered the most as the “iron man” for forging a new nation, convincing 565 big and small princely states to integrate into it.
Over the years, despite belonging to the rival Bharatiya Janata Party, Modi has been effusive in his praise for the leader, even accusing past governments and parties of trying to “run down” and erase Patel’s legacy. The construction of the statue was a pet project of the prime minister, who laid its foundation on Oct. 31, 2013, as chief minister of Gujarat.
The Statue of Unity was built at an estimated $430 million. Most of this money came from the government and public sector companies such as the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum. .