Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on the occasion of his 68th birthday on Sunday, inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada. It is the second biggest dam in the world and the third highest concrete dam in India.
Nearly six decades ago, the foundation stone for this project was laid by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on April 5, 1961 and its constriction began in 1987.
This is the second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States.
Meanwhile, here are the some facts on Sardar sarovar Dam:
- The Sardar Sarovar project is being called the biggest dam project owing to the amount of concrete used in it.
- It is a 1.2 km long and 163 metres deep. Its two powerhouses – the riverbed and the canal head - have till now produced 4,141 crore units of electricity.
- A government spokesperson informed that dam has earned more than Rs 16,000 crore, which is double the cost of its construction. Each gate of the dam weighs over 450 tonnes and it takes almost an hour to close them.
- Officials say that the amount of power generated can light up three states -- Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat. As much as 57 per cent electricity goes to Maharashtra, 27 percent to Madhya Pradesh and 16 percent to Gujarat.
- Activists have been demanding that the dam's gates be kept open to stop the reservoir to reach its maximum storage capacity.
- After the closure of dam's gates began in July, the water level has constantly been rising in the Barwani and Dhar districts in Madhya Pradesh.
- The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), the organisation fighting for justice for the people affected by the dam project, claimed that 40,000 families belonging to 192 villages in Madhya Pradesh would be displaced if the reservoir is filled to its optimum. But the government data says that only 18,386 families would be affected in the state.
- In June, the Narmada Control Authority had granted permission to the state government to close the dam gates since it was convinced that the rehabilitation of the people displaced due to the same was taken care of.
- Activist Medha Patkar, leader of NBA, has been protesting against the project and has been seeking rehabilitation for the displaced families. The ogranisation, which raised the environmental and rehabilitation issues posed by the project, had obtained a stay from the court on the works of the dam in 1996. But in October 2000, the court allowed the resumption of work.
- The new gates raise the height of the dam to 138.68 metres, which will allow the maximum 'usable storage' of 4.73 million acre feet. The Gujarat Congress has claimed that the project is incomplete, according to NDTV report. Despite the BJP ruling the state for the past 22 years, network of canals of about 43,000 km are yet to be constructed, the Congress alleged.