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Thousands of police officers have been deployed to guard the world's biggest statue, as Indian authorities anticipate protests at its inauguration by the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi. The statue is situated in Gujarat, 3.2 km downstream the Narmada Dam.

While campaigning in 2013 to become prime minister, Mr Modi said, "every Indian regrets that Sardar Patel did not become the first prime minister".

An outsized creation of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, the Iron Man of India, almost 600 ft tall over the Narmada river will be unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi tomorrow, marking the start of his re-election campaign for 2019 elections.

Built by engineering major Larsen & Toubro Ltd, the statue will be treated as the largest memorial to the "Iron Man of India".

Modi inaugurated the statue on the bank of the Narmada river. He will also inaugurate the "Wall of Unity" (a monument defining India's unity) near the statue.

Air Force planes showered flowers on the statue, which was designed by decorated Indian sculptor Ram V Sutar.




While stressing on the need to work "unitedly" to address issues like terrorism, climate change, economic development and social justice, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that peace does not only mean "no war".

"This is a project that we had thought about during the time I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat", Mr Modi said at the launch ceremony at the foot of the 182m-tall statue.

But officials in Gujarat state are anxious that community groups could stage protests to demand compensation for land taken to erect the Statue of Unity, which cost 29.9bn rupees (£315m) and has taken almost four years to build.

The 182-metre imposing monument is twice the height of the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. and is built on an islet, Sadhu Bet, near the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat's Narmada district.

Online booking to visit the Statue of Unity has opened with a 350 rupee ($4.75) admission fee for the 153-metre-high observation deck. He had promised the project despite criticism that India couldn't afford to spend so much money on a statue.

Officials expect that the site, located some 200km (125 miles) from Gujarat's main city, Ahmedabad, will attract about 2.5 million annual visitors and will help boost local economy.


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