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Sep 17, 2017 03:47 PM IST | Source:

56 years in the making, Sardar Sarovar Dam becomes a reality on PM's 67th birthday

About 21.38 lakh hectares will receive irrigation facilities from the project, primarily in four states — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

On his 67th birthday, Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam to be built on Narmada River, which will be dedicated to the nation.

About 21.38 lakh hectares will receive irrigation facilities from the project, primarily in four states — Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

The project will irrigate 2,46,000 hectares of land in the desert districts of Barmer and Jalore in Rajasthan and 37,500 hectares in the hilly zone of Maharashtra, according to Sardar Sarovar Project officials.

Earlier this month, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani started a two-week long Narmada Mahotsav Yatra in Surendranagar to mark the completion of the dam. Currently, over 80 Narmada Raths are traveling across the state to spread awareness about the importance of the project, as reported by the Hindustan Times.

The yatra will conclude at Dabhoi in Vadodara district on Sunday with an address from the PM.

“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 Ahmedabad.

The foundation stone of the dam was laid on April 5, 1961

by India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.

This dam also seeks to provide support to the Patidars, who have been upset with the BJP over the issue of OBC status. The Patidars are predominantly farmers, whose support the BJP seeks to gain.

The party has simultaneously launched two projects — Sujalam Suflam for North Gujarat and SAUNI for Saurashtra — for supplying Narmada water to drought-prone regions.

About 0.86 million cubic feet (MAF) of water was allocated to provide drinking water to Gujarat’s 131 urban centres and 9,633 villages, which is 53% of the total 18,144 villages in the state, according to the report.

The dam's construction was halted because of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) which was led by activist Medha Patkar. The movement was activated in support of farmer families over rehabilitation issues in the mid-1980s.

In 1996, the construction was again stopped after NBA obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court stressing on the environmental and rehabilitation issues.

The work resumed in October 2000 after the SC put the condition to increase the height of the dam in phases depending on the progress of resettlement.

The height of the dam was recently raised to 138.68 metres, which will allow maximum 'usable storage' of 4.73.

(With inputs from PTI)
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