India Inaugurates World's Tallest Statue

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PM Modi unveiled a 182-metre-tall statue of Patel, considered to be the tallest in the world, at Kevadiya in Narmada district of Gujarat Wednesday to mark the 143rd birth anniversary of the first home minister of Independent India.

India has drawn awe from every corner of the world as it unveiled its Statue of Unity, a monumental 182 meter-high effigy which costs an eye-watering $400 million. The Indian Railways, to support this venture, is running a special train today called the "Unity Express" that will run from Rajkot to the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, within the state of Gujarat.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi insists that the statue will serve as a major tourist attraction, adding that the statue is "a symbol of India's integrity and resolve".

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.

Air force jets flew over the giant figure and clouds of rose petals were dropped from helicopters onto its head as Modi bent in front of the statue on the ground. It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers to construct the statue in 33 months.

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The "Statue of Unity" is double the size of the Statue of Liberty in NY standing 240 metres high. However, this project was started by PM Modi five years ago, when he was a Chief Minister of Gujarat on 31st October 2013.

He said Patel was a Congress leader and BJP should not be allowed to adopt him.

"Police patrolling has been intensified in the wake of protests by the local tribal community and leaders".

The statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a key independence leader in India's history, stands at 182m.

"The people of the country are also wondering if all this is not politics, and if the BJP really had this love for Patel why had they not put up such a massive statue earlier in Gujarat where they are in power for a long time", the chief of BSP said. Even the outer layer of statue required over 1,700 tonnes of bronze. The current design would make it 212 metres high.