Medha Patkar protests for Narmada families on PM Narendra Modi’s inauguration eve

“All 40,000 families in Madhya Pradesh which are affected by the filling up of the reservoir should be rehabilitated on priority, a probe committee headed by a high court judge should be constituted to investigate the scam in the rehabilitation, and tomorrow’s programme of prime minister at the Sardar Sarovar Project site should be cancelled”, the senior CPM leader demanded.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday inaugurate the newly constructed second biggest dam, Sardar Sarovar Dam, almost six decades after its foundation stone was laid, during his visit to Gujarat on his birthday.

His visit, which has added significance as the Assembly elections are due in Gujarat by year-end, is the second in less than a week after he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe here and launched the Bullet train project.

Over 18 lakh hectares of land in the state would be benefited with irrigation as Narmada water will flow to over 9,000 villages of Gujarat through a canal network, Sardar Sarovar Nigam Limited (SSNL) officials said, explaining the paybacks of the project. It was in June, after the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) approved the state government’s eight-year-old plea to increase the Sardar Sarovar dam’s height by installing 17-metre tall sluice gates, that the project was completed.

September 17 also happens to be the birthday of PM Modi.

From the dam site, the Prime Minister will travel to Sadhu Bet, where the Statue of Unity, an iconic statue and associated memorial complex for Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, is now under construction.

Each gate weighs over 450 tonnes and it takes one hour to close them, the official said.

57 per cent of the electricity produced from the dam goes to Maharashtra, while Madhya Pradesh gets 27 per cent and 16 per cent goes to Gujarat. The communique alleged, the water levels have been “continuously rising after release of large amount of water from unfilled dams just to celebrate the Narmada mahotsav on Modi’s birthday”.

The dam has storage capacity of 4.73 million cubic metres.

The current height of the dam is 138 metres that makes it the biggest structure ever made in the country.

He will also lay the foundation stone for National Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum during the event.

The construction of the dam was not exactly smooth.

The delay in the completion of the dam was due to numerous reasons.

“Though the BJP claims that the project is completed, over 43,000 km of canals are yet to be built”, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki alleged.

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