New Delhi Correspondent
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday unveiled a statue of Sardar Vallabhibhai Patel, a leading light of India’s freedom struggle and the country’s first Home Minister, which is the tallest in the world.
As a tribute to Patel on his 143rd birth anniversary, two planes of the Indian Air Force showered flowers on the statue in a grand inaugural event on the banks of the Narmada river in Modi’s home state of Gujarat.
The Sardar Patel statue, twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty in the US, has been built at a cost of Rs. 2,989 crore “Today is a day that will be remembered in the history of India. No Indian will ever forget this day,” Modi said, paying glowing tribute to Patel who hails from Gujarat.
“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,” he said in an apparent reference to Patel’s pioneering role in uniting the provinces ruled by royal families including Hyderabad’’s Nizam, within the India. Nizam and some other provinces had initially resisted their integration with India.
The stature has been designed by eminent sculptor Ram V Sutar and built by Larsen and Toubro company and the state-run Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd. It took about 250 engineers and 3,400 labourers to construct the statue in 33 months.
The statue has a gallery for viewers for savouring the beauty of the Sardar Sarovar dam, its reservoir and the picturesque Satpura and Vindhya mountain ranges that divide northern and southern India.