On hearing the news of Narmada Control Authority (NCA) clearing way for raising the height of the dam, Chief Minister Anandi Patel cut short the school enrolment drive in Junagadh, which she was inaugurating on Thursday, to rush to Kevadia Colony in Narmada district, the site of the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
“Achhe din aa gaye hain (Good days have arrived),” a beaming Patel told the media, thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Today is a great day for Gujarat. We thank the Prime Minister (for clearing way for installing gates on Narmada dam). This shows his commitment to the welfare of farmers and the poor, who need pure drinking water. Till now, women had to walk long distances to fetch potable water. That will end now. People of Gujarat knew that Modi was the only person who could break the embargo,” Patel said. Patel became the chief minister last month, after Modi was elected Prime Minister of the country.
“This was a long-pending demand of Gujarat. Narmada is the only perennial river in the state. When the gates are installed, the height of Narmada dam will go up to more than 135 metres. This will make water available to farmers of North Gujarat and Saurashtra regions,” Patel said.
“When Modi was the Chief Minister, he kept visiting New Delhi since the past four years and pleading with the UPA government to give permission to set up gates on the Narmada Dam. However, nobody in New Delhi was ready to listen to him. With him becoming the Prime Minister and taking this decision, Modi has ended years of injustice meted out to Gujarat,” Patel said, while speaking at the Kanya Kelavni Shala Praveshotsav function here.
The CM was in the middle of her address to schoolchildren and their parents at Gramodhyog Mandir Primary School, when her staff informed her about PM’s decision. An overjoyed Patel immediately turned to the audience and announced that she would directly fly to the Narmada dam site to see to it that work on gate installation starts immediately.
Launching the construction work of the gates at the Narmada dam within hours of getting the formal clearance, the CM said, “June 12 will be a historic day for both Gujarat and India.” She was addressing a gathering of around 100 local tribals at the dam site, soon after conducting a 10-minute puja and formally launching construction of the gate by pressing a button that brought a concrete slab on gate number 49 via a trolley.