A day after former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claimed that Narendra Modi had never met him over Narmada project issue during the latter’s tenure as the Gujarat chief minister, the current state CM Vijay Rupani today alleged that Singh was lying as Modi had met him in 2011 and 2013 to discuss the issue. He also said that besides these meetings, Modi, as the former Gujarat CM, had also written several letters to Singh over the issue. Rupani today shared several documents related to the correspondence and meetings between Modi and Singh on the Sardar Sarovar dam issue. As per these documents, Modi had written several letters to Manmohan Singh urging him to grant permission for the “construction of spillway piers to its full height and bridge as well as installation of gates (to be kept in raised position) on Sardar Sarovar dam over Narmada”. “Instead of giving an explanation to the people of Gujarat for delaying the Narmada project, Singh resorted to telling total lies about meeting Modiji. These documents clearly show that Modiji had not only written to Singh several times, but also met him to represent about the stalled work on the dam,” Rupani told reporters. Singh had yesterday said that Modi never met him to make a representation about the Sardar Sarovar dam when the latter was the chief minister of Gujarat.
Singh’s claim came weeks after Modi had alleged that although he had met the then PM several times on the issue of raising the height of the dam, there was no assurance from the erstwhile UPA government on finishing the project. Rupani said, Modi had written to Singh about various issues regarding the project, including the environmental permission and rehabilitation issues, in January 2011, June 2011 and in August 2013. “Modiji made a representation when Singh visited Gujarat in March 2011. It is also on record that Modiji held a meeting with Singh at the PMO in February 2013 and discussed the issue for almost 45 minutes. Despite that, Singh is claiming that Modiji never met him over the issue,” he said.
Rupani added that the people of Gujarat will give a befitting reply to the Congress in the upcoming Assembly polls for stalling the project. Polling for the two-phase elections in the state will take place on December 9 and 14 and votes will be counted on December 18. Nearly 56 years after its foundation was laid, the Sardar Sarovar dam became a reality with Modi dedicating it to the nation on September 17 this year. The foundation stone of the dam was laid on April 5, 1961 by the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru. However, it took 56 years to finally complete the construction due to litigations and protests by the affected villagers.
Modi, when he was the chief minister of Gujarat, had sat on a 51-hour fast in 2006 as the UPA government refused to grant permission to raise the height of the dam citing incomplete rehabilitation work. In just 17 days after becoming the prime minister in 2014, the Modi government gave the permission to raise the height of the dam to over 138 metres and install the gates. The work on raising the height of the dam to 138.68 metres was recently completed, which will allow maximum usable storage of 4.73 million acre feet of water.