On his 67th birthday, Modi dedicates Narmada dam to the nation
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.
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.