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Published On: Sun, Sep 17th, 2017

Sardar Sarover Dam : An”engineering miracle” which many people had “conspired to stop”.

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_f631d9dc-9b6f-11e7-bef3-183dfba5e438DABHOI (GUJARAT): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river, saying no other project in the world has faced so many hurdles as this “engineering miracle” which many people had “conspired to stop”.
He also said that the dam, conceptualised nearly six decades ago, would become a symbol of the country’s growing prowess and boost growth in the region.”No other project in the world has faced such hurdles as the Sardar Sarovar .. Over the last six decades, the Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada faced many hurdles but India overcame them with her “blood and sweat” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today. The inauguration of the world’s second largest dam coincides with the PM’s 67th birthday.

The prime minister, who had earlier dedicated the dam to the nation on his 67th birthday, said “Sardar Sarovar will become a symbol of India’s new and emerging power and propel growth in the region…the project is an engineering miracle.”  “Many false allegations were hurled on us. Many people conspired to stop this project. But we were determined not to make it a political battle,” he said.

“I have knowledge (‘kacha chittha’) of everyone who tried to stall this project ..  “A massive misinformation campaign was launched against the project. The World Bank which had earlier agreed to fund the project, refused to give loan for it raising environmental concerns. But, with or without the World Bank, we completed the massive project on our own,” Modi said. “When the World Bank refused money for Sardar Sarovar Dam, temples of Gujarat had donated for the project,” he said.

RPT--New Delhi: Narmada Bachao Andolan activists shout slogans during a protest demanding for the adequate rehabilitaion of Sardar Sarovar Dam project oustees, at Shram Shakti Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan(PTI9_14_2017_000061a)

RPT–New Delhi: Narmada Bachao Andolan activists shout slogans during a protest demanding for the adequate rehabilitaion of Sardar Sarovar Dam project oustees, at Shram Shakti Bhavan in New Delhi on Thursday. PTI Photo by Shahbaz Khan(PTI9_14_2017_000061a)

Thanking the tribal families who were displaced by the project, Modi said .. Nearly 56 years after its foundation was laid by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on April 5, 1961, the dam became a reality today after Modi unveiled a plaque and performed a puja at the site in Kevadia in Narmada district.

“The World Bank said it would not fund the project,” the Prime Minister said in his address at a public meeting in Dabhoi, an hour’s drive from Ahmedabad, after the dam’s inauguration. The World Bank, he said, alleged the dam would ruin the environment. “It did all it can to ensure India cannot have such a mega project… But India too had decided that World Bank or no World Bank, we would build the Sardar Sarovar Dam,” he added.
This project, PM Modi said, sets new records and new benchmarks. Citing an example, he said the amount of concrete used is more than enough for a road from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Kondla to Kohima. The 1.2-km-long Sardar Sarovar Dam will irrigate over 18 lakh hectares in the state, say officials
Before the opening of the dam, PM Modi visited Sadhu Bet, an island in the river Narmada, to review the construction of a 182-metre-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel – called the ‘Statue of Unity’ – and a memorial complex dedicated to the country’s first Home Minister.His address marked the end of the fortnight-long Narmada Mahotsav, launched by the Gujarat government to celebrate the completion of the dam.
With the state gearing up for polls later this year, the ruling BJP has turned the inauguration of the dam into a massive political event. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has dubbed the project as “Gujarat’s lifeline”, saying that the agriculture income and production of farmers in the state more than doubled because of it.
The project has been mired in controversies ever since its foundation stone was laid on April 5, 1961 by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), led by social activist Medha Patkar, has been protesting against the project, raising several environmental concerns. In 1996, construction on the dam was suspended following a stay by the Supreme Court which allowed work to resume, four years later, but with conditions.
Earlier today, the Prime Minister met his mother Heeraben Modi at her home in Gandhinagar – as he does every year on his birthday – to seek her blessings. (With Agency Inputs).
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