Engineering miracle that faced many hurdles: PM
Dabhoi (Gujarat): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river, saying no other project in the world has faced so many hurdles as this "engineering miracle" which many people had "conspired to stop".
He also said that the dam conceptualised nearly six decades ago, would become a symbol of the country's growing prowess and boost growth in the region.
"No other project in the world has faced such hurdles as the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river. But we were determined to complete the project," Modi said at a rally some 55 km from the dam site in Dabhoi town of Vadodara district.
The prime minister, who had earlier dedicated the dam to the nation on his 67th birthday, said "Sardar Sarovar will become a symbol of India's new and emerging power and propel growth in the region...the project is an engineering miracle."
"Many false allegations were hurled at us. Many people conspired to stop this project. But we were determined not to make it a political battle," he said.
"I have knowledge ('kacha chittha') of everyone who tried to stall this project, but I will not name them as I do not want to go on that route," the prime minister said.
"A massive misinformation campaign was launched against the project. The World Bank which had earlier agreed to fund the project refused to give loan for it raising environmental concerns. But, with or without the World Bank, we completed the massive project on our own," Modi said.
"When the World Bank refused money for Sardar Sarovar Dam, temples of Gujarat had donated for the project," he said.
Thanking the tribal families who were displaced by the project, Modi said, "India will remember and honour their sacrifice for development of the country."
Paying tributes to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and B R Ambedkar, he said had the two stalwarts lived longer, the dam would have been completed in the 60s and 70s itself, boosting the economy and combating the problems of drought and floods. The inauguration of the dam, called the 'Lifeline of Gujarat, comes ahead of the state assembly elections due later this year.
Noting that water shortage was a major factor in slowing the pace of development, Modi said the project would help take water to the Indo-Pak border in Gujarat, 700 km from the dam site, to fulfil the water needs of BSF soldiers, besides benefitting states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra.
Nearly 56 years after its foundation was laid by former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru on April 5, 1961, the dam became a reality on Sunday after Modi unveiled a plaque and performed a puja at the site in Kevadia in Narmada district.