PM Modi dedicates Sardar Sarovar dam, country’s third highest concrete dam, to people on his birthdaySeptember 17, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated Sardar Sarovar Dam, the third highest concrete dam in the country and the largest gravity dam in India and second largest in the world in terms of volume of concrete involved, built on river Narmada in Kevadiya of Narmada district in his home-state of Gujarat on his birthday today.
PM Modi performed puja of the dam and Narmada water amid chants of vedic mantras on the occasion here in presence of union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari, Gujarat Governor O P Kohli, CM Vijay Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel and others.
The dam is one of the largest water resources project of India covering four major states – Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Dam’s spillway discharging capacity (30.7 lakhs cusecs) was third highest in the world.
With 1133 cumecs (40000 cusecs) capacity at the head regulator, and 532 km. length, the Narmada Main Canal is the largest irrigation canal in the world.
The dam is the third highest concrete dam (163 meters) in India, the first two being Bhakra (226 metres) in Himachal Pradesh and Lakhwar (192 meters) in Uttar Pradesh. In terms of the volume of concrete involved for gravity dams, this dam is the second largest in the world with an aggregate volume of 6.82 million cu.m. The first is Grand Coule Dam in USA with a total volume of 8.0 million cu.m. This dam with its spillway discharging capacity of 85,000 cumecs (30 lakh cusec),is the third in the world, Gazenba (1.13 lac cumecs) in China and Tucurri (1.0 lac cumecs) in Brazil being the first and second in this regard respectively.
A senior official of the project today said that the project will irrigate 2,46,000 hectares of land in the strategically important desert districts of Barmer and Jalore in neighbouring Rajasthan and 37,500 hectares in the tribal hilly tract of Maharashtra. 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.
The foundation of the inter-state project was laid on April 5, 1961 by the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru. But its work could not take place till 1987 owing to environmental issues. The 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 onward.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 in 2000 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.
The orders to put gates on the dam were issued in June 2014, soon after PM Modi’s taking charge of the office of the PM. In June 2017, orders to close the 30 sluice gates were issued by the Narmada Control Authority owing to which the over flow level or the full height become 138.68 metres from the earlier 121.92 metres. The storage capacity also rose to 4.73 Million Acre Feet (MAFt) from the previous 1.27 MAFt.
The dam is also seen as an emotional issue for the people of Gujarat, who largely depend on Narmada waters to quench thirst and irrigate agriculture fields and call it the Jeevadori or the life-line of Gujarat.
The 1.2-km-long dam, which is 163 metres deep has produced over 4100 crore units of electricity from its two power houses- river bed powerhouse and canal head powerhouse – with an installed capacity of 1,200 MW and 250 MW, respectively. Each gate of the dam weighs over 450 tonnes and it takes one hour to close them. The power generated from the dam would be shared among three states — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. About 57 percent of the electricity produced from the dam goes to Maharashtra, while Madhya Pradesh gets 27 per cent and Gujarat gets 16 per cent.
Meanwhile, the dedication of the dam is likely to benefit the ruling BJP in the state this year’s assembly election in Gujarat. PM Modi as the then CM even had to sit on fast for permission from the center to increase the height of the dam.
BJP sate president Jeetu Vaghani said that the completion of dam would open the new doors of prosperity for Gujarat. He said that PM Modi has completed the long cherished dream of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
On Congress’ questioning the in-completion of canal network, Vaghani said that the people knows the lies of Congress, which had obstructed the project, and would teach it a befitting lesson in the assembly polls.
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