World’s tallest statue set to be unveiled in India

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Indian construction workers are seen at the plimth structure the "Statue Of Unity", the world's tallest statue dedicated to Indian independence leader Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, near Sardar Sarovar Dam near Vadodara in India's western Gujarat state on October 30, 2018. "The farmers of India had unparalleled faith in him... traders and industrialists preferred to work with Sardar Patel because they felt here was a stalwart who had a vision for India's economic and industrial growth", said Mr. Modi. Surya Kiran of the Air Force will perform aerobatics in the sky over the statue, while spreading the colours of the Indian flag in the sky. "Drones and helicopters will be keeping watch on the entire area", said Narmada police inspector general Abhay Chudasama ahead of the ceremony.

He said the nation is yet again geared up for "Run for Unity".

Modi inaugurated the statue on the bank of the Narmada river.

- Foundation stone was laid in October 2013 by then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, now Prime Minister.

"The Statue of Unity" project was announced by Modi back in 2010 when he was still the chief minister for the state of Gujarat.

BJP chief Amit Shah, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, deputy chief minister Nitin Patel and Madhya Pradesh governor Anandiben Patel were also present on the occasion.

It has became an example of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) efforts to appropriate a popular national figure, as Patel was a member of the Congress Party, which now sits in opposition to BJP in India's parliament.

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The statue, made of 210,000 cubic metres of cement, 25,000 tonnes of steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze, has Patel in traditional attire with a shawl over his shoulders.

The statue is more than twice the size of New York's Statue of Liberty and also dwarfs the 128m-high Spring Temple Buddha in China, the world's next-biggest statue. This gallery, at 153 metres height, can accommodate upto 200 visitors at one time.

The Gujarat government expects the statue to boost tourism, with one estimate putting the daily numbers at 15,000.

More than 80 per cent of the local population are from tribal groups with special protected status.

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 base of the Statue stands above the highest flood level recorded over a 100-year period, 237.35 m above sea level.