THE SARDAR Sarovar Narmada dam on Saturday evening reached its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 138.68 metre, and with heavy inflow of water from Indirasagar and Omkareshwar dams in Madhya Pradesh, officials expect the dam in Narmada district to be brimming at its overflow mark by September 17, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose 69th birthday falls on the date, is expected to be present at the dam to celebrate the historic height of the reservoir level, and perform an ‘aarti’ for Goddess Narmada.
On Saturday evening, with 23 gates open, the Narmada dam was lit up to mark the occasion when the water level reached the FRL. The construction of the dam was completed in 2017 and its full height is 163 metre from sea level. The NDA government had cleared the path for its construction in 2014, just days after Narendra Modi was elected prime minister. The dam, which has been receiving a steady inflow of about 10 lakh cusec from Madhya Pradesh, touched a record height of 131 metre in August this year. The riverbed power house (RBPH) of the dam — which had been shut since 2017 — was restarted as per protocol, and has been running at full capacity since then.
The dam continued to release close to 7.9 lakh cusec water from the open gates on Saturday, which has left over 135 villages inundated in Bharuch, Narmada and Vadodara districts in the state.Nearly 5,000 people have been moved to safer places in Bharuch, even as the district administration has requested the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) to reduce the flow of water to prevent further flooding. Bharuch district Collector M D Modiya has confirmed that 23 villages have been completely evacuated. Several parts of Bharuch city have also been flooded.
SSNNL MD Rajiv Kumar Gupta tweeted on Saturday afternoon, saying, “Further storage (in the Sardar Sarovar Reservoir) necessary to control flood situation in Bharuch city due to high tide and (in) 175 villages in three districts. (Bharuch) District Administration requested to control outflow. Level touched historic mark of 138 mtrs today.”
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government released a statement to list the course of the celebrations planned for September 17, to mark Prime Minister Modi’s 69th birthday. The release stated, “In order to celebrate the event of the filling up of the Narmada dam, which is the lifeline of Gujarat, a special obeisance to Goddess Narmada will be offered in all districts on September 17. The day will begin with the cleaning of water bodies — ponds, lakes, rivers — at each district headquarters at 9 am, followed by the offering of a coconut and chunri (sash), and thereafter a ‘mahaarti’ to celebrate the day.”
Top BJP leaders said Prime Minister Modi will join Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel in Kevadia to perform the Narmada Aarti himself.
On Saturday, dog squads began santising the restricted ‘A Frame’ area of the Sardar Sarovar dam, where dignitaries will arrive on September 17 to perform the puja.