Ahmedabad, September 17: After facing hurdles for past 56 years, the Sardar Sarovar Dam was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday. The project, Modi said, was completed despite financial constraints as World Bank retracted support in the wake of protests.

Modi credited the temples of Gujarat for playing a key role in the completion of the project.

“They (World Bank) did not help us, alleging the project would damage the environment. But we did not back off. When there was shortage of funds, even the temples of Gujarat came to the fore and blessed us with donations,” the Prime Minister said, while addressing the gathering in Dabhoi.

“The project sets new records and new benchmarks,” PM Modi added, citing an example that the concrete used in this project was more than enough for a road from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Kondla to Kohima.

Before the inauguration, PM Modi visited Sadhu Bet, an island in the river Narmada, to review the construction of a 182-metre-tall statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel which is also known as the ‘Statue of Unity’.

PM Modi’s address marked the end of the fortnight-long Narmada Mahotsav, launched by the Gujarat government to celebrate the completion of the dam.This

This was PM Modi’s second visit to his home state in less than a week after he hosted his Japenese counterpart Shinzo Abe where they launched India’s first bullet train project in Ahmedabad.

Dedicating the project to the people of the country, the prime minister said that the “lack of water resources has been a major factor in slowing the pace of development.”

He said that the water of River Narmada will help citizens and transform several lives.

The prime minister said that the western part of India lacks adequate water supply and in the eastern part there is a shortage of electricity, gas supply, adding that his government is working to overcome these shortages and take Indian to new heights.

He also conveyed gratitude to people for greeting him on his birthday which coincided with the event and said that he would keep working for the welfare of the people and to fulfil their dreams.

He even urged people to leave no stone unturned in creating a ‘New India’ by 2022, when the nation would mark 75 years of India’s freedom.

An official release says that the increase in the height of the dam will facilitate a usable storage of 4.73 Million Acre Feet (MAF) and will greatly benefit the participating states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Earlier during the day, PM Modi met his mother Heeraben Modi at her home in Gandhinagar – as he does every year on his birthday – to seek her blessings.