After 8 yrs, Narmada dam to get a raise
The decision was taken at the crucial meeting of the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) in New Delhi on Thursday. JN Singh, managing director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), confirmed the development. ‘We got formal clearance to raise the dam’s height and install the gates from the NCA today. Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel will do the puja and initiate work today itself at Kevadiya. However, we will be able to start construction work only after the monsoon season is over by September. We have already started preparatory work and other planning so that we can complete the work as soon as possible,’ Singh said.
The Supreme Court, in 2000, had given power to NCA to allow raising of height from time to time following clearance from relief and rehabilitation sub-group and environment sub-group. Gujarat government has already built the required 30 iron gates, for which the installation is likely to begin on Friday. It will take height of the dam to 138.62 metres and increase water holding capacity by 74 per cent, from 1.27 million acre feet to 4.75 million acre feet that would help irrigate parched areas in Gujarat.
Chief minister Patel did the customary rituals later in the day as the state celebrated the order. NCA sub-committees on resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) as well as environment had already recommended that the permission for raising the dam height be granted. During her recent visit to Delhi, Anandiben Patel had requested PM Narendra Modi for speedy clearance.
Medha Patkar, AAP and Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) leader, has called this move unjust. ‘It is undemocratic and illegal,’ she said. According to NBA, ‘There are about 2,50,000 people residing in the submergence area. They have their homes, markets, agriculture and horticulture, trees and places of worship, all of which that cannot be just submerged by raising the dam height and closing the gates without their rehabilitation as it will violate SC rulings.’