Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the Sardar Sarovar Dam the world’s second biggest on the river Narmada in Gujarat, nearly six decades after its foundation stone was laid.
The inauguration of the project coincides with the PM’s 67th birthday today.
“Tomorrow Sardar Sarovar Dam will be dedicated to the nation. This project will benefit lakhs of farmers and help fulfil people’s aspirations,” PM Modi had tweeted on Saturday.
Prime Minister met his mother Heeraben Modi at her home in Gandhinagar to seek her blessings.
PM Modi will later address a rally in Dabhoi to mark the end of the fortnight long Narmada Mahotsav, launched by the Gujarat government to celebrate the completion of the dam.
The 1.2-km-long dam, which is 163 metres deep, will irrigate over 18 lakh hectares of land in the state, according to officials.
The water from Narmada will flow into over 9,000 villages through a canal network, Sardar Sarovar Nigam Limited officials said.
The country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone on April 5, 1961.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan led by social activist Medha Patkar, has been protesting against the project, raising several environmental concerns.
In 1996, construction on the dam was suspended. Supreme Court which allowed work to resume, four years later, but with conditions.
Soon after inaugurating the dam, PM Modi will head to Sadhu Bet and a memorial complex dedicated to the country’s first Home Minister are being constructed.