By Nirendra Dev
04 September, Ahmedabad
In the election year in the western state of Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to make his sixth visit to the home state this year and elaborate arrangements are being made for launching the newly constructed gates of Narmada Dam on September 17.
“September 17 is PM Modi’s birthday. The newly constructed gates of Narmada Dam will be inaugurated by him on that day,” Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told a group of visiting journalists.
The new gates would raise the height of the dam to 138.68 metres. “Modi will inaugurate Narmada Dam at Kevadiya and also address people at Dabhoi in Vadodara district,” a senior official of the plant said.
It may be mentioned here that the Narmada Control Authority in June this year granted permission to the state government to close the gates, which will raise water level in the Sardar Sarovar reservoir.
“Raising the height of the dam will prove to be a boon for the participating states like Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Its value would be more realised in times of water stress as experienced in these states last year. Due to higher water head and enhanced storage, the hydro power generation would be increased by about 40 per cent,” P C Vyas, Chief Engineer Sardar Saravar project told UNI.”The enhanced height would also mean 3.75 times increase in the live storage capacity,” he said.
The work on Sardar Sarovar project had begun originally in 1961 but after disputes and setting up of a tribunal, contract was awarded only in 1987 with the proposal for work for 1210 metre long and 163 metre height.
“But the dam construction work was stayed in 1995 and finally in October 2000, the Supreme Court gave its landmark verdict and directed for expeditious completion of the project with stage wise permission considering environmental issues and adequate rehabilitation packages,” said Vyas.
Special arrangements are being made for grand celebration of the launch and there will be also accommodation of hundreds of priests, who will also arrive to perform the first-of-its-kind Narmada aarati. According to BJP leaders and state government top brass, Prime Minister Modi is credited for clearing the way for installation of the gates of the dam after assuming office as Prime Minister in 2014.
“Till 1997, the Narmada project was moving at snail pace, but Narendra Modi put it on a fast track after taking reins of Gujarat as chief minister in 2001 and later gave it a boost after he became Prime Minister,” said Rupani.
Sardar Sarovar Project is considered as one of the largest human endeavours to transport 11.7 billion cubic meter of water every year to a distance up to 700 kilometres to quench the thirst of the water scarce areas.