PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam on 17th September, which also happened to be his 67th birthday. Modi dedicated the day to the nation the Dam, whose foundation was laid nearly six decades ago by former Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. The foundation stone was laid on April 5, 1961 and it took 56 years to complete its construction. The inaugural event will also see the finale of the fortnight-long Narmada Mahotsav, which was launched by Gujarat government to celebrate the completion of work.
Here are few things every Indian should know about Sardar Sarovar Dam, which is trending on social media today.
The Prime Minister will unlock 30 gates of the dam and each gate weighs 450 tonnes. It will take one hour to close them.
Sardar Sarovar Dam is the second-biggest concrete gravity dam in the world, the biggest being Grand Coulee Dam in the United States.
Sardar Sarovar Dam is going to help irrigate 800,000 hectares of land in the state and will furnish drinking water to 131 urban centres and 9,633 villages. The canal will be used to irrigate parts of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
According a senior official involved with the project, the dam has minted Rs. 16,000 crore till date, which is double the money which was used to construct the dam.
The plan for harnessing the river for irrigation and power generation was set up in 1946. India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of the project on April 4, 1961. The project was interrupted many times due to an interstate river water sharing dispute and protest against human and environmental implications it might have.
In 1985, social activist Medha Patkar along with other activist came forward and conducted a study of human and environmental implications of constructing this dam. They concluded that government undermined the environmental impact of the dam, as certain agricultural lands would be submerged. Millions would be displaced and there was no concrete rehabilitation program to put these people back to normalcy.
Several movements were launched against the Sardar Sarovar Dam, which came under the same umbrella ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’. Several popular faces like Arundhati Roy, Baba Amte, Aamir Khan, etc became the part of the movement.
The proposed height of the dam was revised upward over the years by the government, despite facing resistance on the project. Supreme Court, lately, allowed it to increase the height by 17 metres.
According to the SSP, for one tribal displaced by the dam, seven will benefit. The project will not only generate electricity but will also affect environment positively. It will increase the tree plantation rate by 100 times and gains due to carbon dioxide fixation will be up to 70 times.