India inaugurates world's tallest statue amid tight security

India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue

India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue

PM Modi will unveil the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's statue, which is the tallest statue in the world as its 182 metres high.

The towering bronze monument, called "Statue of Unity", is nearly twice the height of the Statue of Liberty and over 30 metres higher than the current record holder, China's Spring Temple Buddha.

Modi said that as the chief minister of Gujarat when he used to visit Kevadiya Colony, he used to look for a hillock from which Sardar's statue can be carved out.

She said the Bharatiya Janata Party should not only apologize for defaming her but also tell people why it chose an English name, "Statue of Unity", for Patel, who was every bit an Indian.

But the authorities took no chances in case community groups staged protests to condemn the decision to spend 29.9 billion rupees (S$560 million) - much of it public funds - to build the statue over almost four years.

Balloons in the colours of the Indian flag were release, and air force planes showered flower petals on the statue, which was built at a cost of over $881 million - a bill which proved controversial. Hundreds of Chinese have been among the 3,500 workers involved in its construction.

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

Indian policemen gather next to the Statue of Unity.

"Though Patel was from Gujarat state, all Indians were proud of him because of his stature", said Rashesh Patel, a 42-year-old businessman among the crowd gathered for the inauguration ceremony.

In the largely tribal town of Dediapada, roughly 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the statue, villagers shuttered shops and closed the main market for the day in protest.

The "Statue of Unity" is double the size of the Statue of Liberty in NY standing 240 metres high.

The statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a key independence leader in India's history, stands at 182m. Even the outer layer of statue required over 1,700 tonnes of bronze.

Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge slammed BJP for using the statue of Sardar Patel for their "vested interests". He is also seen as an important figure in uniting the country, and is credited with convincing most of the individual states in the region to join India over Pakistan after the British left.

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