Facebook posts claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government spent Rs 1,000-crore to build the 'Statue of Equality' recently unveiled in Hyderabad, are false as the statue has been funded by devotees around the world.
A graphic featuring the statue and a cut-out image of the prime minster is being shared to make the false claim.
The Bengali text in the graphic translates to, "Modi government tops in the list of wasteful expenditure. Modi government has spent Rs 1,000-crore to build the 'Statue of Equality'. They made the Statue of Unity spending Rs 2700-crore before. But Modiji is facing difficulties when it comes about repayment of petroleum debts to GST payments in the states. Damn."
(Original Text in Bengali: বেকার খরচের শীর্ষে মােদী সরকার। ১ হাজার কোটি টাকা খরচ করে মােদী সরকার তৈরী করলাে স্ট্যাচু অফ ইকুয়ালিটি। এর আগে ২৭০০ কোটি টাকা খরচ করে বানিয়েছে স্ট্যাচু অফ ইউনিটি। অথচ পেট্রোলিয়াম ঋণ বাবদ টাকা শোধ থেকে GST বাবদ রাজ্যে গুলির টাকা দিতে গেলে অবস্থা খারাপ হয়ে যাচ্ছে মোদীজির। ধিক্কার)
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BOOM did a keyword search related to the funding behind the 'Statue of Equality' and found several mainstream news reports about it. The Rs 1,000 crore project was funded by donations from devotees around the world, reported The Economic Times and India Today. News agency Press Trust of India also reported that the project was entirely funded by donations from devotees globally.
According to a Telangana government press release published on February 4, 2022, Chief Minister Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao "hailed that Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy and his followers have done a marvelous job in installing the statue. The CM said that it is a great endeavour that Sri Chinna Jeeyar Swamy took the responsibility of collecting the funds and other arrangements. The CM said he congratulated the Chinna Jeeyar Swamy and mission for the efforts."
Taking a cue from this, we checked the financial reports available on the Statue of Equality's website which mentions the donations received for the project and its expenditure. The financial statements report published by the Jeeyar Educational Trust USA (JET USA) Inc. as of December 31, 2016, also does not mention Narendra Modi or Indian government's name in it.
Furthermore, we also reached out to the Statue of Equality office to verify the viral claim. Aishariya, a representative from the Statue of Equality office told us that the project is not funded by the government as claimed on social media.