Among the dignitaries were Dhirubhai Patel, grandson of Sardar Patel's elder brother Somabhai Patel who welcomed the project by saying, "We are thankful to PM Modi and the government for this recognition to Sardar Patel." However, Patel said that he was not aware of any protests against the statue by local tribals.
At 182 meters (597 feet), the Statue of Unity is the tallest in the world with the buildings and factories business of the construction arm of Larsen & Toubro having designed it in 13 months and constructed it in a record time of 33 months.
L&T's construction arm had won the roughly Rs 29.9 billion EPC contract for the design and construction of the Statue of Unity from the Government of Gujarat in October 2014 and construction of the raft of the statue began in December 2015.
The SoU, on the Sadhu Bet Island, approximately 3.5 km south of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Kevadia in the Narmada district of Gujarat also houses a museum at the base and a viewing gallery at the chest level of the statue.
Lauding Sardar Patel, PM Modi further said, "If Sardar had not united us as a nation instead of diverse princely states and kingdoms, we would have needed visa to travel from one part of the country to another."
Commenting on the project, S N Subrahmanyan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, L&T said, "The Statue of Unity, apart from being a symbol of national pride, and integration is also a tribute to India's engineering skills and project management abilities. Larsen & Toubro has delivered several projects of national significance and we are proud to be associated with building the world's tallest statue, which is a fitting homage to the Iron Man of India - Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel."