Highlights: On birthday, PM Modi inaugurates Sardar Sarovar dam, says Narmada water will transform lives
Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated Sardar Sarovar Dam, , billed as the lifeline of Gujarat, to the nation.Updated: Sep 17, 2017, 14:39 IST
On his 67th birthday on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Sardar Sarovar dam built on the Narmada to the nation – 56 years after its foundation was laid by India’s first premier Jawaharlal Nehru.
It was Modi’s second visit to election-bound Gujarat in less than a week after he hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad to launch the Ahmedabad-Mumbai bullet train project.
The Prime Minister said the Sardar Sarovar dam faced several hurdles. “But, we were determined that the project will continue.”
The BJP, which has woven its assembly election campaign around this ‘lifeline of Gujarat’, had started celebrating the success of the project since 2014 when the NDA came to power at the Centre.
Here are the highlights:
1.13pm: Prime Minister Modi pays tribute to IAF Marshal Arjan Singh. “I had met ArjanSingh ji some days back, the hero of 1965 war. Discipline was in his blood, I salute him,” says PM Modi.
1.06pm: I have seen many saints have started campaigns for river conservation. I welcome the move, says Modi.
1.05pm: The Sardar Sarovar Dam will become the business and tourist centre in coming years.
1.04pm: We should remember our freedom fighters from the tribal communities who gave a strong fight to colonialism, says the Prime Minister. We salute them, the government wants to make a digital museum for the tribal freedom fighters.
1pm: I neither think small nor do I take small projects. Sardar Patel’s “Statue of Unity” will be double the height of America’s “Statue of Liberty.”
12.59pm: Sardar Patel did not get the credit he deserved after independence, for whatever reasons, says PM Modi.
12.58pm: We can imagine how India would have been divided had Sardar Patel been not there, says Modi at dam inauguration.
12.57pm: I salute tribal brothers and sisters, whose struggle has made us realise the dream, says Modi.
12.56pm: “We are working to overcome these shortages so that both parts of India development and India scales new heights of development,” PM Modi.
12.55pm: The western part of India lacks adequate water supply, in the eastern part there is shortage of electricity and gas supply.
12.48pm. When the World Bank had refused to help build Sardar Sarovar dam, the saints and seers of Gujarat donated money to make it possible, says PM Modi.
12.47pm: The Prime Minister says the Narmada waters will help several citizens and transform several lives.
12.46pm: I have a list of people who came in way of Sardar Sarovar dam but I won’t politicise the matter, Modi says.
12.45pm: When I was the Gujarat CM, I had gone to border areas where I saw BSF Jawans do not have water. But I ensured they get clean drinking water from Narmada, says the Prime Minister.
12.43pm: PM Modi says Sardar Sarovar Dam faced several hurdles. “But, we were determined that the project will continue.”
12.38pm: “We specially remember two people today, Sardar Patel and Dr Ambedkar, who as minister gave great emphasis to irrigation and waterways,” says PM Modi.
12.35pm: Modi says Sardar Patel would be happy today if he were alive. “Imagine his vision that he envisioned this dam to help farmers and citizens,” PM addresses people.
12.33pm: Let us leave no stone unturned in creating a ‘New India’ by 2022, when we mark 75 years of India’s freedom, says PM Modi.
12.28pm: PM conveys greetings to everyone on Vishwakarma Jayanti and salute all those working hard to build the nation.
12.27pm: PM Modi begins his speech, thanks people for turning up in large number.
11.58am: PM Modi has given me the responsibility of river development and I’ll complete the assignment, says Gadkari.
11.56am: PM Modi fulfilled the Sardar Patel’s dream with the launch of the dam, for which foundation was laid by Jawaharlal Nehru.
11.55am: PM Modi fought for the people, sat on fast to complete the project, says Union minister Gadkari.
11.54am: Sardar Sarovar Dam will bring drinking water to 4 crore people, income of farmers will double by 2022, says Gadkari.
11.53am: The dam will help irrigate 22 lkah hectare land, says Gadkari.
11.50am: Water resources, river development minister Nitin Gadkari congratulates the people of four states on the inauguration of Sardar Savodar dam in Gujarat.
11.40am: PM Modi will lay foundation stone for ‘National Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum.
11.35am: PM Narendra Modi reviews construction work of Statue of Unity in Kevadia.
11.23am: Activist Medha Patkar leads Jal Satyagraha in the rising waters of Narmada at Chota Barda Ghat in Barwani district of Madhya Pradesh.
10.53am: President Ram Nath Kovind greets the people of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh on completion of Sardar Sarovar Dam, says it fulfils a dream.
10.40am: “Both Gujarat and MP governments worked hard to make the Sardar Sarovar Dam a reality,” tweets Chouhan. “Agriculture in both states will get a boost.”
10.38am: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan congratulates the people of Gujarat and its CM Vijay Rupani on the inauguration of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
10.30am: PM Narendra Modi inaugurates Sardar Sarovar Dam.
10.22am: PM Modi reaches Kevadia to inaugurate Sardar Sarovar Dam.
9.37am: PM Narendra Modi is travelling from Dabhoi to Kevadia by road to inaugurate Sardar Sarovar Dam
9.35am: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chopper has landed in Dabhoi due to unfavorable weather in Kevadia
9.15am: According to Sardar Sarovar Project officials, the project will irrigate 2,46,000 hectares of land in the strategically important desert districts of Barmer and Jalore in Rajasthan and 37,500 hectares in the tribal hilly tract of Maharashtra.
9.12am: A special allocation of 0.86 million cubic feet (MAF) of water has been made 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.
Know the dam
*The foundation of the inter-state project was laid in 1961. But its further construction was delayed mainly because of Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) led by activist Medha Patkar over rehabilitation of the affected families in Madhya Pradesh from the mid 1980s onwards.
* The construction work was suspended in 1994 after NBA activists obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court, which highlighted environmental and rehabilitation issues.
* The work resumed after the SC gave an order in 1999 in favour of the construction with the condition to increase that dam height in phases based on the progress of resettlement.
* Narmada Control Authority allowed closure of the dam’s sluice gates so that the water rises to 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.
(With agency inputs)