Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Narmada district’s Kevadia on September 17, 2017. Seven weeks before the Gujarat elections, the water level in the reservoir was just a metre short of the all-time high, according to a report by The Indian Express. The official records state that the reason behind the high level of water that day was because of the release of an unusual amount of water from upstream dams by the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh. For a fact, the water was released over five days (From September 12-17, 2017) until the inauguration of the dam.
As per the report, the level of water in the reservoir went up by 3.39m in those five days. In contrast to the level that rose by about just 2 m from August 1-28, 2017. Now with the harsh summer ahead in Gujarat, the government, on Friday, said that it will stop supplying water from the dam for irrigation of crops from March 15.
However, terming it as mere ‘a coincidence’ of the timing of the unprecedented release of water over those five days as optics for the inauguration ceremony, the former chairman of the CWC said that it was part of a dam safety exercise. A senior official of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) was quoted as saying that the water was released for safety inspections, which was the first time since the gates were lowered on June 17, 2017. SSNNL’s general manager in-charge A K Sharma said that the dam safety inspections were necessary by maintaining reservoir levels as per Indian Standard Codal provisions.
On the other hand, former CWC chief A K Bajaj indicated that the release of water was to picture it as if there was plenty of water in the reservoir, and that’s what the authorities wanted to show the Prime Minister. Bajaj added by saying that the efforts to increase water levels clearly looked like that it was to target certain date, since both state governments are under the same party.