Narmada Dam to come to life today

PM Modi to dedicate the `3,000-crore project to the nation on the occasion of his 67th birthday

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Narmada Dam to come to life today
The Sardar Sarovar dam in Gujarat seen illuminated for the grand inauguration by PM Modi on Sunday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will ring in his 67th birthday on Sunday in his home state Gujarat where he will dedicate the Sardar Sarovar Dam, or Narmada Dam, at Kevadia to the nation.

Modi has returned to Gujarat less than 48 hours after he left the state, after the attending the India-Japan Annual Meet along with Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday and Thursday. He will also attend a slew of events in the state.

The foundation of the dam, commonly referred to as the lifeline of Gujarat, was laid on April 5, 1961, and it was only in June this year that it was raised to the maximum height of 138.68 metre.

The increase in height — from 121.92 metre to 138.68 metre — led to the dam’s storage capacity going up nearly four times, to 4.73 million acre feet, greatly benefiting the state, besides neighbouring Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

According to a release from the Prime Minister’s Office, “The project has helped transport Narmada waters to the water-deficient areas of Saurashtra, North Gujarat and Kutch through an elaborate canal and pipeline network. Now, irrigation water from the dam is expected to benefit about 10 lakh farmers, while drinking water to be supplied to thousands of villages and towns is expected to benefit up to four crore people.” Hydro electricity up to a billion units is also expected to be generated annually, the release noted.

State government officials said that from Kevadia, the Prime Minister will travel to Sadhu Bet, where the construction of the Statue of Unity is under way. The Prime Minister will be given an overview of the progress of work, officials said.

Envisioned by Modi, when he was the chief minister of the state, the Rs 3,000-crore project comprises a 182-metre-high statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, an exhibition hall, a memorial garden and a Visitor Centre. The state government has claimed that upon completion, the statue will be the world’s tallest.

According to the PMO, next on the Prime Minister’s itinerary is the closing ceremony of Narmada Mahotsav and a public meeting at Dabhoi.

Narmada Mahotsav was undertaken by the state government to celebrate the permission to close the gates of the dam. He will also lay the foundation stone for the National Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museum during the event.

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