World Bank refused, temples gave money for Sardar Sarovar Dam
Dedicating the 2nd biggest dam in the world to the people of India, Modi said that the Sardar Sarovar Dam on the Narmada faced many hurdles. Modi said that the temples of Gujarat gave money "when the World Bank refused funds" for this project. He also attacked a "list of people" who purportedly tried to hinder the project by launching a massive misinformation campaign.
The Sardar Sarovar project was envisioned by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel; its foundation stone was laid in 1961. Water distribution argument became an early hurdle and Narmada Water Dispute Tribunal (NWDT) was created in 1969. In its 1979 verdict, it was ruled that MP, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra would get 65%, 32%, 3% each of the 35 billion cubic metres of water from the dam respectively.
The Narmada Bachao Andolan, which was spearheaded by Medha Patkar to get compensation for those who will be displaced by the dam's construction, got a lot of international attention with many notable figures like Baba Amte, Arundhati Roy and Aamir Khan joining the movement.
Medha Patkar revealed that the project received World Bank funding without it being approved by the Ministry of Environment. This gained international attention and put the World Bank funds under the scanner. The struggle to undo the project put a huge pressure on the World Bank and it commissioned a panel to review the project. On 31 March 1993, World Bank cancelled the loan.
The SC approved the dam's construction stating that it had the power to feed 20 million people, employ 1 million, and provide domestic and industrial water to another 30 million. However, certain conditions needed to be met. The Court ruled that those uprooted by a 5 metres height increase be rehabilitated and the same repeated for "every five metres increase in height".
While Modi inaugurated the Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat, Medhar Patkar launched the 'Jal Satyagraha'. Thousands stood barefoot in water asking for rehabilitation as the dam will affect 40,000 families leaving their homes submerged. The waters are rising and Nisarpur and historic Rajghat have already been submerged. Patkar said despite SC's orders the families are yet to receive compensation.
Sardar Sarovar Dam projected as "Gujarat's lifeline" by Modi is the second biggest concrete dam after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States.
Modi spoke about the misinformation campaign against the dam, hinting at the Congress party at the Centre as the biggest hurdle for the project. The dam's inauguration coincided with Modi's 67th birthday and is being seen as crucial to BJP Gujarat campaign. This came after Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit and the launch of the bullet train project.