India erects world’s tallest statue in Modi’s home state

'Statue Of Unity'

NEW DELHI – At 182 metres, twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, it is the world’s tallest statue. Inaugurated on October 31st in the western state of Gujarat, it depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a leader of India’s independence movement.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday inaugurated the statue in Kevadiya village in the Narmada district of Gujarat, also his home state.

Patel, the country’s first home minister, played a key role in India’s freedom struggle and was a popular leader committed to the farmers’ welfare. Also, the Wednesday marked the 143rd birth anniversary of Sardar Patel.

“Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel worked for the unity of the nation… Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day,” said Mr 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”.

The “Statue of Unity”, which is built at a cost of over 400 million U.S. dollars, will be open to the public from Nov. 3.

The statue is located between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges. A 3.5-km highway will connect the statue to Gujarat’s Kevadia town.

It is said to be strong enough to withstand wind velocity up to 60 meters per second, besides vibration and earthquakes. It has been built within three-and-a-half years by over 3,000 workers, including 300 engineers.

According to reports in India media, around 129 tonnes of iron implements were collected from nearly 100 million farmers in 169,000 villages across all states to construct the base of the statue.

India is also working on a giant statue of 17th-century warrior king Chhatrapati Shivaji, riding a horse and brandishing a sword, which should dominate the Mumbai shoreline from 2021. The current design would make it 212m high.