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After 56 years, Sardar Sarovar project officially ‘complete’

Shot in govt.’s arm: The Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada meets the water requirements of the drought-prone and desert areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan.   | Photo Credit: PTI

In a major boost to the ruling BJP before the Assembly polls, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) has given the final go ahead to the Gujarat government to close the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD) gates, almost 56 years after the dam’s foundation was laid in South Gujarat by the then Prime Minister M. Jawaharlal Nehru in 1961.

In its meeting held on Friday, the NCA permitted increasing the dam’s height by lowering of 30 gates and impounding of water in the reservoir upto its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of EL 138.68 metres.

The latest and final clearance for the project that has faced environmental issues, displacement of tribals and a protracted legal battle, will lead to the completion of the project and result in an increase in the dam’s storage capacity from 1,565 million cubic metres (MCM) to 5,740 MCM and also increase hydro power generation from the current 1,300 MW to 1,450 MW.

According to the Union Water Resources Ministry, this additional storage would irrigate about eight lakh hectares. Additionally, about one crore population will get assured drinking water. The SSD is primarily aimed at meeting the water requirements of the drought prone and desert areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Members of Narmada Bachao Andolan protest against the closure of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Shram Shakti Bhavan in New Delhi on May 17, 2017.

Members of Narmada Bachao Andolan protest against the closure of Sardar Sarovar Dam at Shram Shakti Bhavan in New Delhi on May 17, 2017.   | Photo Credit: PTI


“It’s a historic day for Gujarat as the Narmada project, known as Lifeline of Gujarat, gets final approval to shut the gates to allow storage of water to its full capacity. The Modi government in the Centre gave this landmark gift to the people of Gujarat,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, said announcing the decision.

On Saturday, Mr Rupani, his deputy Nitin Patel and top officials visited the dam site in Narmada district to supervise the works to be completed by June 30 as per the NCA’s order. The State will also organise a Narmada festival in every district to celebrate the completion of the project.

In February this year, the Apex Court had cleared the decks for the completion of the project by ordering monetary compensation to the tune of ₹60 lakh per family for the project affected families, who will be displaced in Madhya Pradesh with the raising the dam’s height in Gujarat.

Prior to the NCA meeting on Friday, its Environment Sub-group, chaired by Union secretary of environment and forests had reviewed implementation of environment safeguard measures and recommended lowering of the gates for completion of the project.

The Resettlement and Rehabilitation sub-group chaired the Union Secretary of Social Justice & Empowerment had also reviewed the rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected families as per the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) Award and the Supreme Court order delivered in February 2017.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 9:04:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-56-years-gujarat-completes-sardar-sarovar-project/article19094460.ece

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