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All set for Narmada Dam reconstruction work to begin today
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Tuesday, October 31, 2000


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All set for Narmada Dam reconstruction work to begin today
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA


KEVADIYA, (GUJARAT), OCT 30: Amidst tight security, work to raise the height of the controversial Rs 18,000-crore Sardar Sarovar Dam on the river Narmada, the largest water resource development project in the country, begins tomorrow in this remote village, 90 kms from Baroda.

Authorities have deployed over 2,000 police personnel to prevent any untoward incident. The entire area has been sanitised and all incoming vehicles and persons were being thoroughly frisked, district collector Anil Mukim said.

The Supreme Court had on October 18 given the green signal to raising the height of the dam from 85 to 90 metres, giving a blow to the anti-dam movement.

Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which is executing the ambitious multi-purpose project, is organising a mammoth public rally at the dam site, which would be attended, among others, by Union Home Minister L K Advani and Union Water Resources Minister Arjun Charan Sethi.

Leader of the Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly Amarsinh Chaudhary would be sharing the dais with Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel in an apparent show of solidarity of the people of the state towards the project, billed as Gujarat's `life-line'.

The project has been mired in controversy ever since its inception in 1961 and has been opposed tooth and nail by anti-dam activists, led by Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA).

Patkar only yesterday called off her fast protesting against the Supreme Court judgement.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and Madhya Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Jamuna Devi, are also expected to attend the function, coinciding with the 125th birth anniversary of Sardar Patel, the country's first home minster.

Advani will also be unveiling a life-size statue of Sardar Patel at the site on the occasion.

Meanwhile, the State Government is making elaborate arrangements to make the programme a grand success. People travelling to attend the `Victory Day' function have been exempted from paying bus fares.

As part of the security measures, the Maharashtra-Gujarat National Highway passing through Kevadiya has also been closed for traffic and vehicles were being diverted through other routes.

Gujarat claims that the project would provide drinking water facilities to over 8,000 villages and 135 urban areas, besides irrigAting 18 lakh hectares of land and generating 1,450 mw of hydro-power.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

   

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