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Narendra Modi inaugurates Sardar Sarovar project: Key facts about world's second biggest dam

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam—the second biggest dam in the world after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States—on the Narmada river in Gujarat.

It is said that the project has helped transport the waters of the Narmada river to the water-deficient areas of Gujarat through an elaborate canal and pipeline network.

Activist Medha Patkar has been on indefinite fast since 27 July seeking proper rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project-oustees, from Chikhalda in Dhar district.

Thousands of families along the Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh's Barwani, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone districts are at risk of getting displaced with the closing of gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam in neighboring Gujarat and resultant rise in the water level in its catchment area.

The Centre recently gave its nod for closing the gates.

Here are all the key facts related to the project:

After closure of the gates, the height of the dam was increased to 138 metres, with storage capacity raised to 4.73 million cubic metres (MCM) from the existing 1.27 million cubic metres. Earlier, the height of the dam was 121.92 metres.

The foundation stone for the Sardar Sarovar Dam was laid by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in Narmada district's Kevadia fifty-six years ago.

According to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, with the inauguration of the project, over 18 lakh hectares of land in the state would be benefitted with irrigation as Narmada water will flow to over 9,000 villages of Gujarat through a canal network.

Each gate of the dam weighs over 450 tonnes and it takes one hour to close them, according to a senior official associated with the work of Sardar Sarovar project (SSP). The dam is the biggest dam in terms of volume of concrete used in it.

The 1.2-km-long dam which is 163 metres deep has till date produced 4,141 crore units of electricity from its two power houses — river bed powerhouse and canal head powerhouse — with an installed capacity of 1,200 MW and 250 MW, respectively.

The power generated from the dam would be shared among three states — Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat, say the officials.

Fifty-seven percent of the electricity produced from the dam goes to Maharashtra, while Madhya Pradesh gets 27 percent and 16 percent goes to Gujarat.

According to the SSP officials, the dam 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 million cubic feet (MAF) of water has been made to provide drinking water to 131 urban centres and 9,633 villages, which is 53 percent of the total 18,144 villages of Gujarat.

The construction work of the was suspended in 1996, after the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) activists obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court, which highlighted environmental and rehabilitation issues.

It was only after the top court gave an order in October 2000 in favour of construction of the dam that work resumed.

With inputs from IANS

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Updated Date: Sep 17, 2017 13:18:05 IST