SAIL has supplied 80 pc of steel for Sardar Sarovar Dam

Casey Dawson
September 19, 2017

"This project will benefit lakhs of farmers & help fulfil people's aspirations", Prime Minister Modi wrote in a tweet, yesterday.

"You know me; I cannot do small things. I think time will tell and we will keep a close and watchful eye".

Mr Modi said, Sardar Sarovar Dam faced so many obstacles, but they were determined that the project will go on. He used the occasion to woo tribals, Dalits, Patels and OBCs, ahead of the forthcoming Assembly elections.

The Narmada Bachan Andolan is a movement against the dams built across the Narmada through Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. PM Modi took to Twitter on Saturday, saying: "Tomorrow Sardar Sarovar Dam will be dedicated to the nation". During the speech, he said that "Many false allegations were hurled on us".

But the apex court laid down certain conditions for the project, the foremost being that all people displaced by the increase in height of 5 metres in each phase, should be properly rehabilitated and that the same should be done for every phase of the increase. "A massive misinformation campaign was launched against the project, and the discourse soon turned political". "The World Bank refused to give us a loan for the project citing environmental concerns, so we completed it on our own".

The NGA also said that PM Modi's plan to organise a "grand aarti" also failed as the 2,000 priests who were supposed to arrive from his home constituency Varanasi did not turn up. "The World Bank denied funding for it, but I want to thank the multitude in Gujarat who donated money, and the religious institutions that opened their donation boxes for this dam". "But I ensured they get clean drinking water from Narmada", he said. He had envisioned the dam 75 years ago, even before independence.

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Modi thanked the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Maharashtra's Devendra Fadnavis and Rajasthan's Vasundhara Raje Scindia for their contribution in completion of the project.

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 also has an "immeasurable cost" in terms of the destruction of forests, biodiversity and ecosystems, he said.

The "Jal Satyagraha" protest led by Narmada Bachao Aandolan founder Medha Patkar, demanding rehabilitation of the 40,000 families affected by the Sardar Sarovar Dam, entered the third day on Sunday.

The Gujarat government promised in the court to give a robust rehabilitation package to those affected, but the National Basketball Association did not accept it.

Modi had undertaken a 51-hour fast in 2005 for the permission to raise the dam height.

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