– On his 67th birthday on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the Sardar Sarovar dam built on the Narmada to the nation – 56 years after its foundation was laid by India’s first premier Jawaharlal Nehru.
– It will be Modi’s second visit to Gujarat in less than a week after he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad to launch the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.
– This comes exactly three months after the Narmada Control Authority allowed closure of the dam’s sluice gates so that the water rises to its full height of 138.68 metres from the earlier 121.92 metres.
– The storage capacity also rose to 4.73 million cubic metres (MCM) from the previous 1.27 MCM.
– While four states – Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh – stand to gain from the multi-purpose dam, the BJP is all geared up to reap its benefits in the poll-bound Gujarat.
– Earlier this month, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani flagged off a two-week long Narmada Mahotsav Yatra in Surendranagar to mark the completion of the dam. Over 80 Narmada Raths are travelling across the state to spread awareness about the importance of the project. It will culminate at Dabhoi in Vadodara district on Sunday, where Modi will address a public meeting.
A MONUMENTAL EFFORT CULMINATES
- 37,000 hectares come under the reservoir with a linear stretch of 214 km
- 21.38 lakh hectares will recieve irrigation facilities from the project in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra
- 131 urban centres will get drinking water and 53% of the total villages in Gujarat to get power
- 4,141 cr units of electricity have already been generated from the two power houses of the project
- FIFTY-SIX YEARS IN THE MAKING
◼ 1961: Sardar Sarovar Project was given go-ahead by PM Jawaharlal NehruW
◼ 1979: Foundation laid
◼ 1985: World Bank agrees to fund the project
◼ 1987: Construction begins
◼ 1989: Narmada Bachao Andolan launched over rehabilitation and environmental issues
◼ 1993: World Bank withdraws funding
◼ 1994: SC halts construction
◼ 1999: SC nod to restart
◼ 2014: The NDA government gives nod to install gates to achieve maximum height
– The BJP, which has woven its assembly election campaign around this ‘lifeline of Gujarat’, had started celebrating the success of the project since 2014 when the NDA came to power at the Centre.
– “Within 10 days of assuming office as Prime Minister, Narendrabhai gave the nod to install gates on the Narmada dam. It became possible because of his strong will and hard work of years. I want to ask Rahul Gandhi as to why a project started by his great grandfather was not completed during the tenure of his father?” BJP national chief Amit Shah said is a town hall event in Ahmedbad on September 10.
– Besides claiming credit for the dam’s completion, the BJP has been accusing the opposition Congress of delaying the project. “When the UPA was in power at the Centre government did not give permission for seven years to install gates on the dam. After Modiji became Prime Minster, the go-ahead was given within a few days,” Rupani said recently.
– The Congress, on the other hand, has been raising the issue of incomplete canal network. Though over 500-km long main canal and six branch canals have been completed, work on minor, sub-minor and dis-tributaries is still on.