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Long-drawn disputes, protests mark the Sardar Sarovar dam's long journey

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Birthday To Be Celebrate As 'Seva Diwas' Nationwide

On his 67th birthday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted to nation the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada River, the mega project considered the lifeline of Gujarat, which goes to polls in less than three months.

"The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has supplied 80 per cent steel required for construction of the Sardar Sarovar Project inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi today", a Steel Ministry statement said here.

The foundation stone of the dam was laid on April 5, 1961, by the country's first prime minister Jawaharlal Lal Nehru.

The affected people who were promised compensation in the form of houses or cash against their homes being submerged by the project have not yet been paid, and are left with no other option but to come down on the streets for protest. The gates of the country's highest dam were closed the following day. He made it a point to take blessings of his nonagenarian mother Heera Ba on his birthday early in the morning on Sunday before he proceeded to Sardar Sarovar Dam site to perform Puja to dedicate the project to nation. Gujarat took the lead to complete this project.

BJP President Amit Shah tweeted in Hindi and congratulated Prime Minister Modi saying he was constantly diligent "towards making India a world Guru again".

The project was an "engineering miracle" and a "symbol of India's new and emerging power", he said. "But India too had decided that World Bank or no World Bank, we would build the Sardar Sarovar Dam", he added. The project will not only generate electricity but will also affect environment positively.

The saints and seers of Gujarat have played a very big role in the making of the Sardar Sarovar Dam, he said.

The "same World Bank was compelled to give the state a Green Award" following the Gujarat government's rehabilitation work after the 2001 quake in Kutch, said Modi.

On NBA's claim that the chief ministers of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan didn't attend the prime minister's SSD dedication function in Gujarat due to the opposition to the project in their areas, he said they were pre-occupied in functions organised to mark the birthday celebrations of Modi. In 1996, the Supreme Court stayed the project, further delaying the work on the dam. Mr Modi said his government is working to overcome these shortages so that both parts of India development and India scales new heights of development.