PM inaugurates Sardar Patel's Statue of Unity, world's tallest at 182 metre

Charlene Craig
October 31, 2018

The statue is more than twice the size of New York's Statue of Liberty and also dwarfs the 128-meter (400-feet) high Spring Temple Buddha in China, the world's next-biggest statue.

Patel was known as the "Iron Man of India" for integrating various states in the post-independence era.

An astonishing £330 million (Sh431 billion) has been spent on the 600ft tribute to Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in his home state of Gujarat. The PM said that his government would pay "true homage" to the leader by dedicating "Statue of Unity" to the nation.

India's new "Statue of Unity" depicts a far greater symbolism of the Hindutva politics taking centre stage in the country.

"Two traits synonymous with Sardar Patel are trust and integrity. All our efforts are towards realising his dream".

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Some political commentators have criticised Modi for his expenditure on the statue complex at a time when the adivasi indigenous people who farm the land acquired for it are in economic straits and have protested against it.

In today's edition of Mann ki Baat, PM Modi stressed on the need to work "unitedly" to address issues like terrorism, climate change, economic development and social justice.

- Statue's surface (skin) has 553 bronze panels - each panel has 10-15 micro panels - made at a Chinese foundry, as there was no facility available in India to make panels of this scale. It has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 metric tonnes of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure.

The statue is part of Modi's poll promise which helped the BJP come to power in 2014 by defeating the Congress. The raft construction of the structure actually begun on 19 December 2015, and took 33 months to complete. "The actual signboard is that of the statue with its logo, stating that is a government of India project", the official said.

The Prime Minister in his speech hit out at critics and opposition parties, who have questioned the government's decision to construct the memorial.

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The Statue of Unity will be able to withstand wind speeds of up to 180 km and also an quake of up to 6.5 in richter scale.

The viewing gallery, at 153 metres height, can accommodate 200 visitors at a time.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs3,000 Crore.

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

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