Surendranagar, September 6: The Gujarat’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Wednesday flagged off the ‘Ma Narmada Mahotsav Yatra’ from Surendranagar which will cover 24 districts, 7 cities & over 7200 villages. Notably, the two weeks long ‘Ma Narmada Mahotsav Yatra’ is being celebrated after the completion of Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada river.
During the two week long Narmada fest, a chariot, named as ‘Narmada Rath’ will carry a statue of 'Maa Narmada' would move about in 10,000 villages of 24 districts with an aim to spread awareness about the importance of the project and its effect on the lives of around 4 crore citizens of the state. Also, in the Narmada Yatra, 84 raths will go to the 24 districts and 7 municipalities.
There will be Poojan-Urchhan of village Rath. All these chariots will reach Kevda on the evening of September 16. Various cultural events will be held during the Narmada Rath Yatra festival from September 6 to September 17. On 16th and 17th September, lightning has been organized at 15 different places of 15 districts.
The dam was finally completed fifty-six years after the foundation stone was laid as the state government on June 17 got permission from the Narmada Control Authority to close all the 30 gates of the dam, raising its height to 138.68 metres. The then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the dam in 1961.
However, the construction work for the dam was suspended in 1996, after the massive Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) took place and activists related to this movement obtained a stay order from the Supreme Court, by raising environmental and rehabilitation issues.
It was only after the SC gave an order in October 2000 in favour of the construction of the dam that the work on it resumed. However, the SC had set a condition that permission to increase the dam height would be given in parts after the project-affected-people are resettled or compensated.