The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam, known as the lifeline of Gujarat, reached its Full Reservoir Level (FRL) of 138.68 metres shortly after midnight for the second consecutive year. On the occasion, which coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, Minister of State for Narmada Yogesh Patel along with Managing Director of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) Rajiv Gupta performed Narmada puja at the zero point of the dam to mark the FRL. CM Vijay Rupani also joined over video conference.
Modi retweeted a video put out by SSNNL of overflowing dam and said, “On this day, last year had the honour of being at the site of the dam and had paid tributes at the iconic Statue of Unity.” Rupani also tweeted about it.
At around 6 am on Thursday, SSNNL opened 23 of the 30 gates of the dam to begin releasing close to 1.1 lakh cusecs of water into the river as the reservoir reached its capacity of 138.68 metres. Rupani, who joined the celebrations from Gandhinagar via video conference, addressed the state and spoke of the importance of Narmada dam for the development of Gujarat. The live storage in the dam is 5,760 Million Cubic Metres on Thursday.
Recalling the “struggle and hard work” of Modi, who was the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Rupani accused the Congress of delaying the completion of the dam for several years. Rupani recalled the year 2014, when Modi, after taking oath as Prime Minister in May, cleared the way for the completion of the installation of gates of the dam after raising its height to 163 metres.
Rupani said, “In the coming time, the dam will play a key role in taking water to Saurashtra, Banaskantha and Kutch. The filling of the reservoir for two consecutive years is an indication that it will help us in our development goals as water is the most essential commodity for development.”
Events to mark birthday
Gujarat government and Gujarat BJP organised various programmes to celebrate Modi’s birthday. The state government launched a number of welfare and people-centric schemes.
One of the schemes launched was Mukhyamantri Mahila Utkarsh Yojana (MMUY). It was launched by Rupani virtually from Gandhinagar even as different state leaders and office bearers of various institutes of self governance attended physical functions from 70 locations in the state.
Under the scheme, the state government is planning to provide interest-free loan of Rs 1 lakh to one lakh women self-help groups (SHGs) in the state. Each SHG will have 10 women members. The government has also waived stamp duty on the borrowing by the SHGs.
Anjali, wife of Rupani, attended one such event at Raysan village of Gandhinagar district. It was also attended by Gandhinagar mayor Rita Patel and municipal commissioner Ratankanvar Gadhavicharan.
Anjali said that MMUY can be quite helpful to women in the post Covid-19 era when people’s budgets have gone haywire and many have lost jobs.
The media cell of Ahmedabad BJP celebrated Modi’s birthday by distributing 70 kits containing various grocery items among 70 needy families in the city, said a release from Ahmedabad BJP’s media cell convener Amit Jyotikar.
An exhibition on Modi was also organised at Gujarat BJP state headquarters Shree Kamalam.
In Surat, a portrait — made on the theme of Mother’s Love depicting Modi with his mother — was exhibited at Home Automation Gallery. The 7-feet wide and 5-feet high portrait has been made by Craft Melon Art firm owned by Bhanuprakash R of Bangalore. It is being promoted by a Surat-based firm, Wood N Chisel.
Talking to The Indian Express Bhanuprakash R, said, “Over 25 artisans worked for 16 months and over 10,000 pieces of wood (have been used) for this portrait. (Several) lakhs of rupees have been spent on this portrait… The trees are found in the forest in Mysore. This is one of the biggest portraits of Wood Inlay Art form.”
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