India Unveils World’s Tallest Statue That’s Twice The Height Of The Statue Of Liberty

There’s a new record holder for the world’s tallest statue.

The “Statue of Unity,” which depicts Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first deputy prime minister, was unveiled on Wednesday during a ceremony that included a speech from the nation’s current prime minister and a massive release of balloons in the colors of the nation’s flag, per reporting from NBC News.

The statue cost more than $400 million to build and was funded by the federal government as well as state-run companies and other organizations. It contains more than 7.4 million cubic feet of cement, 25,000 tons of steel, and 1,700 tons of bronze.

Patel is revered as a unifying figure in India’s history. A leader during the nation’s independence movement, Patel’s birthday (which was Wednesday) is a holiday in India known as National Unity Day.

The statue is more than twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in New York City and nearly 100 feet taller than the previous record-holding statue, China’s Spring Temple Buddha, according to the New Zealand Herald.

The statue was a project that was ordered by current Prime Minister Narendra Modi, back when he was the chief minister of the state of Gujarat, where the statue is located. Modi himself spoke at the unveiling ceremony on Wednesday.

“Brothers and Sisters, this highest statue of the world will be remembered for the whole world, our future generations, the courage, strength and determination of that person,” Modi said.

The project took nearly three years to complete, and while many were joyous at the unveiling ceremony, not everyone was happy about it. Many locals in the state where it was constructed were furious about the amount of natural resources being used to construct it, it’s total cost, and the fact that many families had to relocate from the area due to the placement of the statue.

“I am not against Sardar, but what is the use of the statue if the people on the land have to suffer and are moved from their homes?” community leader and state lawmaker Chotu Vasava said, according to reporting from Around 185 families were removed to make way for the monument.

Government leaders have defended removing families from the area, arguing that they received a just compensation for their doing so.

The ceremony included quite a bit of pomp, as well as heightened security to ensure the safety of revelers. Helicopters and jets dropped flower petals on the Statue of Unity during the event, and more than 5,000 police officers were on site to keep an eye out for rabble-rousers.

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