India inaugurates world's biggest statue amid tight security

India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue

The 182-metre imposing monument is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Statue of Unity, the world's tallest statue built in Gujarat, to the country on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on October 31 (31.10.1875 - 15.12.1950).

Though little known outside of India, Patel - the nation's first deputy prime minister - is a favorite of Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to Elizabeth Chatterjee, a professor of political science at Queen Mary University of London.

But around the statue in a remote corner of Gujarat state, more than 5,000 police guarded the huge site where construction work has taken almost four years to complete the mega project.

Prime Minister Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and others at the inauguration ceremony.

Based on award-winning sculptor Ram Sutar's creation, the statue was built by engineering firm Larsen and Toubro. Congress can neither praise Modi government for Statue of Unity nor can it criticise it as Sadar Patel was one of the tallest Congress leaders who played a key role unifying India.

"More than 5,000 police personnel have been deployed at various points in the 10 kilometre radius of the statue site", said Narmada police inspector general Abhay Chudasama.

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"In order to build the Statue of Unity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of the soil and thus a mass movement developed", he said.

- There is also large audio-visual exhibition gallery, spread across 4647 area with an automated ramp. In November previous year, after the Congress chief visited the temple, PM Modi had said that Rahul Gandhi's grandfather - Jawaharlal Nehru - had opposed the reconstruction of the Somnath temple.

The Patel statue was built to withstand 180km/h winds and earthquakes of up to magnitude 6.5.

After its grand inauguration on 31 October, the statue will be open for public visit from 3 November from 9am-6pm. The sheer size of the statue, Modi believes, will reflect India's magnanimity and strength.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially opened the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel describing the completion of his pet project as "a day that will be remembered in the history of India".

The massive statue has more of a Chinese connection than merely dislodging the Spring Temple Buddha statue from being the world's tallest.

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