Patkar protests for Narmada families on Modi's inauguration eve


For the people of three states - Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra - the decades long wait for the completion of an ambitious multi-purpose dam project is finally set to end. The PM, who will be at Kevadia in Narmada district to inaugurate Sardar Sarovar Dam on Sunday, is also expected to visit his mother Hiraba in Gandhinagar to seek her blessings.

"It is the best gift for him on his birthday, as he has worked tirelessly for the dam to bring water in the parched areas of the state", the Chief Minister said. Over 80 Narmada Raths are travelling across the state to spread awareness about the importance of the project.

"According to the Newspaper, More than 43,000 km out of the total 90,000 km Narmada canal network is still unfinished due to BJP government's failure", Gohil said.It was in June 2014 that the Narmada Control Authority gave nod to install gates which would increase the dam's height to 138 metre.

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The project, which has cost around Rs 60,000 crore, irrigates 1.8 million hectares of land in Gujarat and 2,46,000 hectares in Rajasthan. The project is expected to be lifeline to the farmers of Gujarat in terms of irrigation. Majority of the work related to Narmada project was completed during the years that our party was in power , As Reported By DNAIndia.

Besides claiming credit for the dam's completion, the BJP has been accusing the opposition Congress of delaying the project. Each gate of the dam weighs over 450 tonnes and it takes one hour to close them. "After Modiji became Prime Minister, the go-ahead was given within a few days", Gujarat chief minister Rupani said. 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.

The Congress, on the other hand, has been raising the issue of incomplete canal network.

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Also, 0.86 million cubic feet of water will be used to provide drinking water to 131 urban centres and 9,633 villages.

The foundation stone for the project was laid in 1961 and the construction began in 1987. Led by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar, villagers affected by the project staged a "Jal Satyagaraha" protest at Chota Barda village in Dhar district, PTI reported.

The construction work was suspended in 1994 after National Basketball Association activists obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court, which highlighted environmental and rehabilitation issues.

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Earlier, the height of the dam was 121.92 metres.