Kevadia: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled the 182-metre high ‘Statue of Unity’ in honour of country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Dedicating the marvel to the nation, he hailed crores of farmers who turned its construction to a peoples’ movement. Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP chief Amit Shah were present at the unveiling ceremony. (Sardar Patel’s Statue Inauguration Highlights) Also Read - Ladakh Standoff: These Masterstrokes of PM Modi Frighten China

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said, “Events like today are very very important in a country’s history and such events are difficult to erase. It is a historic and inspiring occasion for all Indians. I am fortunate to dedicate this statue of Sardar Sahab to the nation.” Also Read - 'Perfect Time, Perfect Opportunity,' Says PM Modi to Aussie PM Scott Morrison in First Virtual Meet | Top 10 Points

“This is a project that we had thought about during the time when I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. To build the Statue of Unity, lakhs of farmers from all over India came together, gave their tools, portions of soil and thus, a mass movement started,” he added. Also Read - Watch LIVE: PM Modi Attends Online Summit With Australian PM Scott Morrison

Remembering the first Home Minister of the nation, PM Modi said, “Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had said infighting was the reason for India’s subordination by foreign powers; never again will India make the same mistake and never will India again be enslaved.” Further, he said, “Had Sardar Patel not united the country, we would need visas to see lions or pay homage at Somnath or view the Charminar in Hyderabad.”

Describing the Statue of Unity as a symbol of country’s engineering and technical capabilities, the Prime Minister said that the marvel will remind those who question India’s existence that this nation was, is and will remain eternal.

PM Modi also launched a veiled attack on the Congress for calling ambitious Statue of Unity project a ‘marketing gimmick’. He said, “Sometimes I am left amazed at how some people connect the schemes and projects launched by us to politics. We are being opposed for praising great persons like Sardar Patel. We are being felt as if we are criminals.”

Notably on Monday, former Gujarat chief minister and expelled rebel Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela took a jibe at Statue of Unity project and termed it a ‘marketing gimmick’. He reportedly said, “I see the unveiling of the Statue of Unity as a desperate attempt by the BJP to gain political mileage and nothing else. They are losing public support. Not a single work was done by this government in four-and-half years for the common man.”

About Statue of Unity

Built on Sadhu Bet Island on Narmada river, the Statue of Unity is touted to be the world’s tallest. The Rs 2,389 crore monument is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who played a major role in integrating the princely states into the Indian Union after the partition of 1947.

The Statue of Unity is almost 29 metres taller than China’s Spring Temple Buddha that stands at 153 metres, and almost twice as high as the 93-metre Statue of Liberty in New York.

As per a government statement, the statue has been built using over 70,000 tonnes of cement, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel, 6,000 tonnes of structural steel and 1,700 tonnes of bronze, which was used for the outer cladding of the structure.

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

Apart from the Patel bronze figure, other major attractions include inauguration of a 17-km-long Valley of flowers, a Tent City for tourists near the statue and a museum dedicated to the life and times of Patel.

The Tent City, located around four km from the Statue of Unity can house more than 500 tourists in one go.

A viewing gallery at a height of 153 metres has been created inside the statue to enable tourists to have a view of 1,210 metre long concrete Sardar Sarovar Dam, 3.2 km upstream as well as the nearby Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges.