Construction work to increase the height of Narmada dam at Kevadia in Gujarat’s Narmada district to 138.72 metres from existing 121.92 metres will be completed by December this year, nine months ahead of the schedule, a top government official said today.
In June 2014, soon after Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister, the Narmada Control Authority (NCA) had approved the proposal to raise the height of the dam by putting up radial gates on it. The construction work began in October, 2014.
“The scheduled time to increase the height of the Narmada dam to 138.7 metres was September next year. Instead of that, we have set ourselves a target to finish the work by December 2016,” chief engineer of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL), P C Vyas, told PTI.
Even after completion, however, the newly-constructed gates will remain open keeping the operational height of the dam at the existing 121.92 metres, until rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) works for dam-displaced persons is completed.
The NCA will have to give a go-ahead to operationalise the gates after it is convinced that all R&R work is completed, as per the orders of the Supreme Court.The state-run SSNNL is the implementing agency of the Narmada dam project.
“Construction of piers and bridge have been completed, and all thirty radial gates have been installed on the top of the dam. Only finishing and auxiliary works are left which we will complete by December,” Vyas said.
He said construction work was expedited to advance the actual target date with both the SSNNL management and construction company making special efforts on their part to finish the work at the earliest possible. Infrastructure major Jaypee Associates is involved in the construction of the dam.
“Coordination between the management headed by SSNNL CMD S S Rathore and the contractor helped expedite the work. Engineers worked hard day and night and contractor put extra resources for this,” Vyas said.
In June 2014, the Narmada Control Authority gave a go-ahead to the state government to raise the height of the dam as per the Supreme Court order. Chief minister Anandiben Patel, while announcing this at a rally, had termed that as a “historic day.”
A majority of R&R work is to be done by the Madhya Pradesh government. The benefits of increased turbine power production will be shared in different proportions between Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra governments, while water for irrigation will be shared between Gujarat and Rajasthan.
When commissioning the work, the state government had set a three-year target to complete the construction being done at an investment of Rs 270 crore and using 11,000 tonnes of reinforced steel and 1,20,000 cubic metres of concrete.
The decision to raise the height of the dam has met with resistance from social activist and Narmada Bachao Andolan convener Medha Patkar who termed it as “undemocratic” and alleged that the affected people were not consulted and given a hearing.