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On his 69th birthday, PM visits Sardar Sarovar, Statue of Unity

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on September 17, 2019 Published on September 17, 2019

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Governor Acharya Devvrat garland Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the function of Sardar Sarovar Dam touches Highest water level, at Kevadia Colony, Gujarat, on Tuesday. - Photo: Vijay Soneji

Construction of dam and the Statue of Unity symbolise “will power”, says Modi

The construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the nearby Statue of Unity are symbols of ‘will power’, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a public gathering at Kevadia, the site of the dam, on the occasion his 69th birthday on Tuesday.

Modi performed a pooja at Kevadia, with the Dam at full reservoir level (FRL) of 138.68 metres following heavy rains in the upper catchment areas in Madhya Pradesh recently. At the full level, the live storage capacity of the dam reached a record 4.73 million acre-feet.

There was a time when reaching 122 metres height was considered a challenging task. But in the past five years, the government has been able to take the dam’s height to 138 metres. “The dream, which Sardar Patel saw decades ago, is coming true now,” the Prime Minister told the gathering.

“Despite many hurdles and struggles, we have been able to achieve this feat, which is ultimately in the interest of the people. Today, in Gujarat about 19 lakh hectares is covered under micro-irrigation, benefiting about 12 lakh farmer families of the State. In 2001, about 14,000 hectares were covered under micro-irrigation, and only 8,000 farmer families could benefit from it,” said Modi.

“Micro-irrigation has helped in saving up to 50 per cent water and brought down fertiliser use by 25 per cent, and labour cost by 40 per cent. It has also resulted in electricity-saving,” Modi told the gathering, which included farmers, BJP supporters from across the State and representatives of beneficiary States including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.

Tap water penetration

Crediting Sardar Sarovar Dam for increasing tap water availability in the State, the Prime Minister said, “The tap water penetration has increased three times in the State. From 26 per cent households in 2001, today we have about 78 per cent household getting tap water.”

At the Statue of Unity, the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which is 240-metre high including the base, the Prime Minister visited tourist spots including Ekta Nursery, Cactus Garden, Jungle Safari and eco-tourism parks. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and State Governor Acharya Devvrat accompanied him.

The Prime Minister returned to Gandhinagar, where he will have closed-door meetings with ministers, officials and State political leaders before heading back to Delhi later in the afternoon.

Sardar Sarovar Dam timeline

April 5, 1961: Foundation stone laid by first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru

October 6, 1969: Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal was constituted to decide upon the sharing of Narmada waters between States

December 12, 1979: Landmark judgement of the Tribunal made effective

April, 1987: Work order given for construction of concrete gravity dam measuring 163-metre from the base

1995: Sardar Sarovar Dam height reaches 80.30 metres. Narmada Bachao activists knock at Supreme Court and get a stay order on construction

1998-1999: Gujarat government presents its case. Supreme Court vacates the stay

1999: Dam height goes up to 85 metres

2000-2001: Dam height reaches 90 metres

October 2001: Narendra Modi takes charge as Gujarat Chief Minister

2001-2004: Resettlement and Rehabilitation work put on fast-track

June 30, 2004: Dam height reaches 110.64 metres

2004: Canal-head 250-MW powerhouse commissioned

June 2006: 1,200 MW riverbed powerhouse becomes operational benefiting stakeholder States Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

March 8, 2006: Permission granted to increase dam height to 121.92 metres

April 15, 2006: Centre sets up a review committee and suspends further construction at Dam

April 16, 2006: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi begins 51-hour hunger strike

2006: Centre allows construction

December 2006: Dam attains the height of 121.92 metres

March 2008: A 458-km massive irrigation canal takes Narmada water to Rajasthan

2009: Largest branch canal of the project reaches Saurashtra

May 2014: Narendra Modi takes charge as Prime Minister and grants permission to take dam height further up to 138.68 metres

June 16, 2017: Narmada Control Authority holds 89th meeting and allows installation and closure of 30 sluice gates on the dam

June 17, 2017: Sluice gates are closed taking the total dam height to 138.68 metres

September 15, 2019: Sardar Sarovar Dam reaches its Full Reservoir Level with a live storage capacity of 4.73 million acre-feet

Published on September 17, 2019
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