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Ahmedabad, September 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam on river Narmada,  at an event coinciding with his 67th birthday. The event will take place at Kevadia in Narmada district. The completion of the project took 56 years owing to major opposition it faced from environmentalist and human rights organisations.

Earlier on Saturday, PM Modi tweeted out saying this project will benefit lakhs of farmers and help fulfill people’s aspirations. He also said the project will start a new chapter of prosperity for Gujarat. Given that this is the second such large project to see the day of light under the BJP within a week, can itself be seen as significant moves ahead of the Gujarat elections due year-end.

Noteworthy that the foundation stone of the dam was laid on April 5, 1961 by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.  Medha Patkar-led Narmada Bachao Andolan, a movement to save river Narmada took the government to the Supreme Court over environmental and rehabilitation issues, and obtained a stay in 1996. The Apex Court allowed resumption of the project in October 2000.

The height of the dam was recently raised to 138.68 metres, which will allow maximum ‘usable storage’ of 4.73 million acre feet of water.