Protests expected as India prepares to unveil world's largest statue

India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue

India prepares to inaugurate the world's tallest statue

Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Patel hail from Gujarat state.

"His statue is a symbol of India's integrity", Modi said, peppered with potshots at his critics and copious references to other pet projects such as his goods and services tax and health care initiatives.

At 182-metre, the statue is touted as the world's tallest - it is 177 feet higher than China's Spring Temple Buddha, now the world's tallest statue.

Mohan Gurumurthy of the Centre for Policy Alternatives said: "If he had been alive, Patel would never approve millions to be spent on his statue".

It is said that Surya Kiran of the IAF will perform aerobatics in the sky over Patel's statue while spreading the colours of Tricolour in the sky.

India's farmers have struggled to make ends meet at the same time as the country's government has built the ambitious £335 million and 597 feet high statue in Gujarat. Wednesday was the 34th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

This "Statue of Unity" has been built in a record 42 months' time by the engineering and infrastructure major L&T on river Narmada in South Gujarat.

"Air force planes and helicopters will shower flowers on the statue during the unveiling", he told reporters.

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Online booking to visit the Statue of Unity has opened, with a 350 rupee (£3.75) admission fee for the 153-metre high observation deck.

It is made up of almost 100,000 tonnes of concrete and steel.

During the inauguration ceremony Modi said: "Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India".

Indian officials are anxious that community groups could stage protests to demand compensation for land taken to erect the Statue of Unity.

Sculptor Ram V Sutar consulted around 2,000 photos of Sardar Patel, as well as contacting historians and people who had seen him, to ideal the face of the statue.

The statue's construction had received opposition from some tribal groups in Narmada district. 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.

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

The Gujarat government - a BJP administration - expects the statue to boost tourism, with one estimate putting daily numbers at 15,000. Hundreds of Chinese workers travelled to India to set up the bronze cladding of the statue - a crucial element in the statue's outward appearance.

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