India deploys huge security for inauguration of worlds biggest statue

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In the 49th edition of Mann ki Baat Prime Minister addressed wide-ranging topics from Sardar Patel's birth anniversary on October 31, to India's outstanding performance in sports, he also paid homage to Army Jawans and their families on Infantry Day which was celebrated yesterday. Set against the backdrop of the scenic Sardar Sarovar Dam, the statue is perched on top of the small river island of Sadhu Bet, situated only 3.2km from the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

The Prime Minister said Sardar Patel, a veteran administrator, had also popularised the idea of cooperative housing societies.

In another tweet, Gandhi accused the government of "treason", saying there was a "systematic destruction" of institutions that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had helped in building.

Patel was known as the "Iron Man of India" for integrating various states in the post-independence era. The current tallest statue in the world-the 502ft high Spring Buddha Temple in China-will be eclipsed by the 597 ft.

Mr Modi, whose nationalist government has made the statue one of its flagship projects ahead of a national election next year, arrived in Gujarat's main city of Ahmedabad on Tuesday night. Twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty, the figurine is believed to be the tallest statue in the world.

It was dream of Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the time he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.

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The total project cost is estimated to be Rs. 2,989 crore.

Chotu Vasava, a local legislator and community group leader, repeated a threat to stage protests on the eve of the ceremonies around the statue of Patel, who played a key role in unifying India after its independence in 1947.

Online booking to visit the Statue of Unity has opened with a 350 rupee ($4.75) admission fee for the 153-meter-high observation deck.

In the lobby area at the entrance of the statue, a museum and audio visual gallery will feature 15-minute presentations on the life of Patel and the tribal culture of Gujarat, to entertain tourists awaiting their turn to go up.

The memorial has been seen as a pet project of Mr Modi, who like Patel, was born in Gujarat.

Vijendra Tadvi, 39, told the BBC: "Instead of spending money on a giant statue, the government should have used it for farmers in the district".

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