PM to in­au­gu­rate ‘ Gu­jarat’s life­line’

GATES OPEN Ahead of assem­bly elec­tions in the state, BJP stands to reap ben­e­fits of the dam around which it has wo­ven its poll cam­paign

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - Hi­ral Dave hi­ral.dave@htlive.com

AHMEDABAD: On­his67thbirth­day on Sun­day, Prime Min­is­ter Naren­draModi­willded­i­cateth­eSar­darSarovar­dambuil­ton­theNar­mada to the na­tion — 56 years af­ter its foun­da­tion was laid by In­dia’s first pre­mier Jawa­har­lal Nehru.

It will be Modi’s sec­ond visit to Gu­jarat in less than a week af­ter hehost­edJa­pane­sePrimeMin­is­terShinzo AbeinAhmed­abadto launch the bul­let train project.

This comes ex­actly three months af­ter the Nar­mada Con­trol Author­ity al­lowed­clo­sure of the dam’s sluice gates so that the water rises to its full height of 138.68 me­tres from the ear­lier 121.92 me­tres.

The stor­age ca­pac­ity also rose to 4.73 mil­lion cu­bic me­tres (MCM) from the pre­vi­ous 1.27 MCM.

While four states — Gu­jarat, Ra­jasthan, Ma­ha­rash­tra and Mad­hyaPradesh— stand­to­gain fromthe­multi-pur­posedam,the BJP is all geared up to reap its ben­e­fits in poll-bound Gu­jarat.

Ear­lier this month, Gu­jarat chief min­is­ter Vi­jay Ru­pani flagged off a two-week long Nar­mada Ma­hot­sav Ya­tra in Suren­drana­gar­tomark­the­com­ple­tion of the dam.

The BJP, which has wo­ven its assem­bly elec­tion cam­paign around this ‘life­line of Gu­jarat’, started cel­e­brat­ingthe suc­cess of the­p­ro­jectin2014when­theNDA came to power at the Cen­tre.

“Within 10 days of as­sum­ing of­fice as Prime Min­is­ter, Naren­drab­hai gave the nod to in­stall gates on the Nar­mada dam. It be­came pos­si­ble be­cause of his strong will and hard work of years.Iwant­toaskRahulGandhi as to why a project started by his great-grand­fa­ther was not com­pleted dur­ing the ten­ure of his fa­ther?” said BJP na­tional chief AmitSha­hata­town­hal­leventin Ahmedabad on Septem­ber 10.

The Congress, on the other hand, has been rais­ing the is­sue of in­com­plete canal net­work. Though the over 500-km long main­cana­land­sixbranch­canals have been com­pleted, work on mi­nor,sub-mi­nor­canal­sand­dis­tribu­taries is still on.

“AsourPrimeMin­is­ter­isvis­it­ing Gu­jarat, I want to ask him why 43,000km of the canal net­workisstill­incom­plete.Iwishhe ex­plain­sthis­de­layas­theBJPhas been in power here for 22 years and he was the chief min­is­ter from 2001 to 2014,” Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said.

Ac­cord­ing to Sar­dar Sarovar Project of­fi­cials, the project will ir­ri­gate 2,46,000 hectares of land in the strate­gi­cally im­por­tant desert districts of Barmer and Jalore in Ra­jasthan and 37,500 hectares in the tribal hilly tract of Ma­ha­rash­tra.

A special al­lo­ca­tion of 0.86 mil­lion­cu­bicfeet(MAF)ofwa­ter­has been made to pro­vide drink­ing wa­ter­toGu­jarat’s131ur­ban­cen­tres and 9,633 vil­lages — which is 53% of the to­tal 18,144 vil­lages in the state.

The foun­da­tion of the in­ter­state project was laid in 1961. But its fur­ther con­struc­tion was de­layed mainly be­cause of the Nar­madaBachaoAn­dolan(NBA) led by so­cial ac­tivist Medha Patkar over the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of the af­fected fam­i­lies in Mad­hya Pradesh­fromthemid1980­son­wards.

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