India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi celebrated his 67th birthday on Sunday, September 17, by inaugurating the second biggest dam in the world ‘Sardar Sarovar Dam’.
At the inauguration, Modi said that the country must strive to create a ‘New India’ by 2022, the 75th year of India’s freedom.
He said the western part of India lacks adequate water supply, in the eastern part there is shortage of electricity and gas supply. The government will work towards overcoming these shortages so that both parts of India development and India scales new heights of development.
He went on to say that the dam was a dream of the Iron Man of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and it has finally been achieved.
He also stressed on the fact that the World Bank had refused to help build Sardar Sarovar dam. But the saints and seers of Gujarat donated money to make it possible.
The dam is one of the most controversial projects with activist Medha Patkar vehemently opposing the construction of the dam. The Narmada Bachao Andolan led by her has claimed that after raising the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, about 40,000 families in 192 villages in Madhya Pradesh will be displaced. The government has put the number of displaced families at 18,386 in Madhya Pradesh.
The Prime Minister, however, emphasised the importance of the project for the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Water resources, river development minister Nitin Gadkari said that the dam will help irrigate 22 lakh hectare land.
“I salute tribal brothers and sisters, whose struggle has made us realise the dream,” said Modi.
India’s PM is now eyeing for the ‘Statue of Unity’ project which will be double the height of America’s Statue of Liberty.