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PM dedicates Narmada dam to nation on his birthday

Last Updated: Sunday, 17 September 2017 (17:08 IST)
Narmada: inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam built on Narmada river at an event today, coinciding with his birthday. The foundation stone for the dam was laid 56 years ago by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The dam will produce 1450 mega Watt electricity everyday. The Narmada Control Authority had ordered the closure of the project's gates on June 16. The gates of the dam were closed the following day.

The height of the dam was increased to 163 metres from the deepest foundation level, earlier it was 121.92 metres. At full reservoir level, the height is 138.68 mts. The total project cost is Rs 6406.04 crore and the canal network is 85,898 kms, according to the official figures. India's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had a vision of constructing such a dam in 1946 and now in 2017, his dream has turned into a reality.

The PM was briefed about the construction work being done at the Statue of Unity -- the world's highest statue (of Sardar Patel) -- being erected at the Narmada dam. The dam project will benefit lakhs of farmers and help fulfil people’s aspirations. In terms of quantum of concrete used, this is the third largest dam in the world. Road equivalent to two lengths of equator can be built with such amount of concrete. The Sardar Sarovar Dam is a gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam.

It is a part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada river. The project took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity. Of the 30 major dams planned on the river, the Sardar Sarovar Dam is the largest structure to be built. A total 135 medium size dams and 3,000 minor ones are also being built.
Following a number of controversial cases before the Supreme Court by 2014, the Narmada Control Authority had approved a series of changes in the final height.

The project will irrigate more than 14.23 lakh hectare area, most of it in drought prone areas of Kutch and Saurashtra, according to the official. The power share in percentage will be -- 27 for Maharashtra, 16 for Gujarat and 57 for Madhya Pradesh. Apart from these three, the project covers Rajasthan also which won't be getting electricity but it is getting water since 2008. Superintendent Engineer R G Kanungo of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Limited said 14.23 lakh HA irrigational potential has been developed through this project. Water is transported to farmers using underground pipes, with 3-4 feet depth, and no land has been acquired from farmers for transporting water which was one of the ways of interlinking rivers, Mr Kanungo said. Solar tops were made on the canals for power generation, he said, adding that no land acquisition was done. Greenery in Gujarat has increased by 70-80 per cent and electricity production has increased by 30-40 pc after the construction of the dam.

While a 182-metre (the number of Vidhan Sabha constituencies) Statue of Unity is a project conceived by Mr Modi, he has also been consistently in favour of increasing the height of the dam. An official statement said the increase in the dam height will facilitate a usable storage of 4.73 Million Acre Feet (MAF) and will greatly benefit the participating four states.

The allocation of water depending on 75 pc availability will be 18.25 Million Acre Feet for Madhya Pradesh, 9 MAF (Gujarat), 0.50 MAF (Rajasthan) and 0.25 MAF(Maharashtra). It said that the project has helped transport the waters of the Narmada river to the water-deficient areas of Gujarat through an elaborate canal and pipeline network. “Irrigation from the project is expected to benefit about 10 lakh farmers and drinking water to be supplied to various villages and towns is likely to benefit up to 4 crore people,” the statement said. The project has been described as one of the biggest human endeavours for water transport. Up to a billion units of hydropower are also expected to be generated annually. The drinking water master plan will cover 9490 villages and 173 urban centres. (UNI)
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