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Narendra Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar Dam to the nation

Prime Minister unveils the plaque dedicating the Sardar Sarovar dam to the nation, in Narmada district's Kevadia, Gujarat on Sunday. Photo: @PMOIndia  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated to the nation the Sardar Sarovar Dam, almost 56 years after its foundation stone was laid.

Mr. Modi, who turned 67 on Sunday, unveiled the plaque dedicating the dam to the nation, after performing a puja at the site in Kevadia in the Narmada district.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani were among the dignitaries present on the occasion.

The dam on the river Narmada has been described as “Gujarat’s lifeline” by the BJP leaders.

The foundation stone of the dam was laid on April 5, 1961 by the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

However, it took 56 years to finally complete its construction due to court cases and protests by the affected villagers.

Mr. Modi’s visit, which has added significance as Assembly elections are due in Gujarat by the year-end, is the second in less than a week after he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the State and launched the bullet train project.

Earlier, the Prime Minister had stressed that the project will start a new chapter of prosperity for Gujarat.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had called the project as “Gujarat’s lifeline,” noting that the agricultural income and production by farmers in the State had more than doubled because of it.

The delay in the completion of the dam was due to numerous reasons. Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan took the government to the Supreme Court over environmental and rehabilitation issues, and obtained a stay in 1996.

The court allowed resumption of work in October 2000.

The height of the dam was recently raised to 138.68 metres, which will allow maximum ‘usable storage’ of 4.73 million acre feet of water and will greatly benefit the participating States of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

It said that the project has helped transport the waters of the Narmada river to the water-deficient areas of Gujarat through an elaborate canal and pipeline network.

“Irrigation from the project is expected to benefit about 10 lakh farmers and drinking water to be supplied to various villages and towns is likely to benefit up to 4 crore people,” the release said.

The project has been described as one of the biggest human endeavours for water transport. Up to a billion units of hydropower are also expected to be generated annually.

Sardar Sarovar Dam inauguration

We specially remember two people today, Sardar Patel and Dr. Ambedkar, who as Minister gave great emphasis to irrigation & waterways, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after inaugurating the Sardar Sarovar Dam, in Gujarat on Sunday. Photo: @PMOIndia  

Statue of Unity project

Apart from inaugurating the dam, the Prime Minister is also scheduled to travel to Sadhu Bet to visit his other favourite project on Sunday — the Statue of Unity being built in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which is currently under construction.

While a 182-metre Statue of Unity is a project conceived by Mr. Modi, he has also been consistently in favour of increasing the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.

“The Prime Minister will be given an overview of the progress of work on this project. The project comprises a 182 metre tall statue, an exhibition hall, a memorial garden, and a Visitor Centre,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Mr. Modi will attend the closing ceremony of the Narmada Mahotsav and address the gathering at Dabhoi. The closing ceremony is also of a Narmada yatra taken out by the ruling BJP as part of the Mahotsav through 85 chariots that went around the State and would reach the dam site.

At several places on its route, the yatra faced hostile crowds protesting against the claims of the State government of providing Narmada dam waters across the parched regions of Gujarat.

Simultaneously, the Opposition Congress has mocked the Prime Minister dedicating to the nation something, a major part of which was completed by the party during its rule before 1995. State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and a national spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil asserted that “90% of the main canal of the dam and 88 metres were completed by the Congress between 1987 and 1995.”

“In as many as 22 years of the BJP’s rule, not even half of the work on creating minor and sub-minor canal network has been completed. You can see the water in the dam but it does not reach most of the farmers in the absence of a canal network. And the Prime Minister is dedicating it to the nation,” said Mr. Gohil.

Meanwhile, Mr. Modi will lay the foundation stone for the National Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum during the event.

The Prime Minister will later visit Amreli, where he will inaugurate a new market yard of APMC. He will also inaugurate new plants of Amar Dairy, and lay the foundation stone of a honey production centre. He will address a gathering.


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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 2:45:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/narendra-modi-dedicates-sardar-sarovar-dam-to-the-nation-yet-again-on-his-birthday/article19702858.ece

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