The tallest statue in the world cost ₹30 billion to build, ₹500 million to maintain — now the government is spending even more money on advertising it

The tallest statue in the world cost ₹30 billion to build, ₹500 million to maintain — now the government is spending even more money on advertising it

  • The world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity, was unveiled in India earlier today.
  • After the initial cost of ₹30 billion, the Indian government is now shelling out more money to advertise it.
  • While the statue has been built to attract more tourists to the Indian state of Gujarat, many citizens are wondering if its worth spending taxpayer money on publicity.
The world’s tallest statue was unveiled in India earlier today. Not only did it cost ₹30 billion ($410 million) to construct, but the government is shelling out an extra ₹500 million ($6.7 million) a year to maintain it. And, to top it off, the government is pumping in more money to advertise India’s newest tourist attraction.

While the statue is definitely an impressive feat in itself towering at 182 meters as a marvel of engineering, many people are left wondering whether it was the best use of public funds. Further spending on advertising seems even more unjustified.

The amount of money that was spent constructing the ‘Statue of Unity’ could have been used to fund two new Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campuses, five Indian Institute of Management (IIM) campuses as well as fund six missions to Mars under the India’s apex space agency according to a study done by IndiaSpend.

Not to mention that at a time of water crisis and agricultural difficulties in Gujarat, the project’s corpus more than doubles the proposed budgets for the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (Prime Minister’s Agriculture-Irrigation Scheme).

Instead of building a tourist attraction, the ₹30 billion could have gone towards irrigating over 40,000 hectares of land, renovating nearly 162 irrigation scheme and constructing 425 small check-dams.


What could have been versus what is

The cost of building the Statue of Unity is not only about how the money could’ve been spent instead but the social costs that should concern the local and national governments.

Building a statue requires land land that usually belongs to an individual or a group of people. In this case, it was land of nearly 72 villages, where 32 have been more severely hit than the rest according to NDTV. Rehabilitation efforts have been neglected and since the construction of the statue began, the area has been reporting water shortages.

Even in villages where compensation has been doled out, commitments on commissioning land and jobs are yet to be met. Estimates conclude that nearly 75,000 tribals have been adversely affected by this statue.

The true irony is that the project’s portal propagates that the Statue of Unity should remind the citizens of India of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s vision of inclusive growth, while the project itself isn’t incumbent of that philosophy.

(Photo credit: IANS)