01:30 GMT +315 November 2018
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    Soldiers stand guard at the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, which was unveiled in Gujarat on October 31, 2018

    Indians Divided Over 'Statue of Unity'

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    Indian farmers and social activists are infuriated over the $430 million cost of the Statue of Unity, while a large section of the local community has struggled to make ends meet.

    Unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the 143rd anniversary of the independence movement hero Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel death’s. The statue stands a towering 600 feet tall, and has garnered as much criticism as admiration.

    Many in the tribal population allege that they have been displaced from their land due to the project and the government is yet to pay them the compensation. Headmen of nearly 22 villages near the Sardar Sarovar Dam where it is situated wrote an open letter to PM Modi criticizing the cost and environmental destruction caused by the construction.

    "We villagers want to tell you with extreme grief that we will not welcome you on October 31. Even if you come here like an unwanted guest, you are not welcome here," reads the letter according to the local media.

    Ahead of the extravagant unveiling ceremony by PM Modi, the Gujarat Police detained several tribal leaders and activists in Kevadia, Rajpipla, and Dediapada in the Narmada to avoid protests.

    The affected farmers have threatened to drown themselves in the river if their appeals are not heard.

    The social media is also abuzz with criticism as well as appreciation. Social activists are criticizing Modi of squandering public money.

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