The official Twitter handle of the Statue of Unity in Gujarat said on Saturday that high-velocity winds have blown rainwater into the viewing gallery, but claimed that it is due to design. The 182-metre statue is the tallest in the world and was inaugurated last year.

“The rainwater has been blown by high-velocity winds inside the viewing gallery,” the handle tweeted. “It’s by design that it has to be kept open for a better view which tourists can enjoy. Water accumulation is being promptly tackled by the maintenance team.”

Tourists who had come to see the statue, a memorial to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, on Saturday said that rainwater had entered an observation gallery.

“We had come with great hope to see the world’s tallest statue,” one of the visitors told PTI. “But we are feeling bad looking at the statue in the rain. It has not rained heavily, and already the main hall and viewing gallery of the statue is filled with water. It is unfortunate.”

However, Narmada Collector IK Patel claimed that it was natural for water to seep inside the gallery. “The viewing gallery is open with grills on the chest of the statue,” he said. “The rear side of the gallery is covered by glass. The front view is open as per design. So it is natural that water will enter when it rains.”

“There is a channel to dispose of rain water,” he added. “But when the wind speed is more, lots of water comes in and house-keeping personnel continuously drain it out. It is not leakage as is being claimed.”

Users on social media criticised the government following the incident: