India's central government to chip in for world's tallest statue

The plan to build a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in the state of Gujarat dates back to at least 2010

Delhi

It will be the world’s largest statue and will cost more than £200 million to build.

But while not everyone believes the statue of India’s independence hero Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel should be a priority for a country with a series of social challenges, the project this week received further backing from Narendra Modi in the form of £20 million set aside in his first budget.

The plan to build a statue of Mr Patel in the state of Gujarat, where Mr Modi served four terms as chief minister before being elected India’s Prime Minister in May, dates back to at least 2010. 

The so-called Statue of Unity project was inaugurated last November by Mr Modi, who said that had Mr Patel, who served as India’s first deputy prime minister, instead served as the first prime minister, India would have taken a different, more prosperous path.

“Every Indian regrets Sardar Patel did not become the first prime minister,” he claimed. “Had he been the first prime minister, the country's fate and face would have been completely different.”

The 597ft statue will tower over its rivals, including China’s Spring Temple Buddha and the Ushiku Daibutsu statue in Japan. It will be almost double the height of New York’s State of Liberty.


It is widely perceived that Mr Modi’s desire to complete the statue is part of an effort to associate himself with an independence-era icon usually associated with the Nehru-Gandhi family of the Congress party. India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, is the great grandfather of Rahul Gandhi, who led the Congress’s disastrous campaign in the recent election.

It was originally said the cost of the statue, to be build on an island in a man-made water body, was to be funded by the state of Gujarat and public donations. An announcement that the central government will also contribute was contained with the budget speech delivered on Thursday by Mr Modi’s Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley.

“Sardar Patel stands as the symbol of the unity of the country,” Mr Jaitley said in the two-hour speech to parliament, according to the Reuters news agency.

The authorities in Gujarat say the project, which will also host an aquarium and various learning centres, will be a major tourist attraction for the area. Mr Patel, who died in 1950 was also from Gujarat.

But some have questioned the sums being spent, especially since the budget set aside half the amount for trying to tackle women’s safety in India.

“Everyone is talking about this. It is not just women’s safety, but smaller amounts have been set aside for educational facilities and hospitals than for the statue,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women Association. “It just goes to show the very skewed priorities that the government has.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
techPatent specifies 'anthropomorphic device' to control media devices
Voices
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits
voicesAndrew Grice: Prime Minister can talk 'one nation Conservatism' but putting it into action will be tougher
News
Ireland will not find out whether gay couples have won the right to marry until Saturday afternoon
news
News
Kim Jong-un's brother Kim Jong-chol
news
News
Manchester city skyline as seen from Oldham above the streets of terraced houses in North West England on 7 April 2015.
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?