Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Sardar Sarovar dam to the nation on his 67th birthday, built on the Narmada – 56 years after its foundation was laid by India’s first premier Jawaharlal Nehru.
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, informed an official.
The project to build a large dam on the Narmada for the welfare of Gujarat was first conceptualised in 1946 by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, later Union home minister. 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. 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. Later the court allowed resumption of work in October 2000.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.
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. According to the officials, “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 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.