Noted Social activist, conservationist and the face of Narmada Bachao Andolan, Medha Patkar has warned that raising the Sardar Sarovar dam to its full height will submerge Mahatma Gandhi's memorial at Rajghat on the banks of Narmada river. Narmada Control Authority has approved raising the dam to its full height by ordering the closure of 30 gates. Once the dam is at full height, activists fear that it will submerge Gandhi's memorial in Badwani district along with one town, 176 villages and displace close to 20,000 families.
The Rajghat at Badwani houses the remains of not only Mahatma Gandhi but also Kasturba Gandhi and Mahadev Desai. The heritage site is now under threat, claimed Patkar who took to Twitter to raise awareness about the effects of raising the height of Sardar Sarovar Dam. Following the Narmada Control Authority's approval, the Gujarat government has closed 30 gates of the now 138 metres dam. The gates will remain closed till 31 of July and the dam threatens to submerge close to two hundred villages the valley in Madhya Pradesh.
The clearance by the NCA marks the completion of the controversial dam that has been opposed for displacing tribals and affecting the livelihood of farmers, disrupting wildlife and destroying forest covers. With the completion of the project, the dam's storage capacity will increase from 1,565 million cubic metres to 5,740 MCM. This will also translate into increased hydropower generation from the current 1,300 MW to 1,450 MW. Activists, villagers are, however, up in arms against the government.