Modi urges PM to give Narmada project national status


New Delhi : Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Friday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here and urged him to accord the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Project a national status as the multi-state river water management scheme involving a mega dam is expected to benefit the whole of western India.

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Modi reiterated the state’s demand to declare the dam on the Narmada river as a national project since four states – Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan – are set to benefit from it.

The Gujarat government official statement released here said Modi requested the prime minister to give clearance to construction of installation gates on the dam, which has already been built to the height of 121.92 metres as against the envisaged 138 metres.

Modi said the environment and forests ministry has withheld the clearance to the construction of the gates for the last three years.

The mega dam at Kevadiya Colony in central Gujarat on the Narmada river has been for decades seen as a lifeline of Gujarat. It is expected to provide drinking and irrigation water to drought-prone parts of Gujarat as well as its neighbouring states.

However, the project has remained mired in controversies with critics arguing it carries high environmental costs and displaces a large number of people.

The chief minister, the statement said, welcomed the central government’s efforts to clear various infrastructure development projects to combat global recession.