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Last Updated: Monday, 1 January 2007, 09:15 GMT
India finishes controversial dam
Sardar Sarovar Dam
Building work began in 1987
India has completed construction of a controversial dam on the Narmada river, nearly two decades after it launched the project.

Authorities say the Sardar Sarovar dam will supply drinking water to millions of people in four states, as well as fulfilling irrigation and power needs.

But critics say the project has displaced at least 35,000 people who lived in the dam area.

Work began on the 1,250m-long and 122m-high dam in 1987.

But the project ran into long delays, legal disputes and protests.

"India has taken a leap ahead," chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, told a gathering to mark the completion of the project, news agency Press Trust of India [PTI] reported.

"The dam will change the future of the country and Gujarat will benefit from it."

Mr Modi said a ceremony would be held later in the month to dedicate the dam to the people of the four states - Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra - which will benefit from the project.

Authorities in Gujarat say the dam will bring crucial water to its parched Saurashtra and Kutch regions.

Experts said there would be no further construction on the dam's structure over its current height.

Last year, the Supreme Court refused to stop the height of the dam from being raised, as demanded by campaigners.

Activists of the Save Narmada Movement, who have been leading the protests, say the state governments have failed to provide adequate relief and compensation to those displaced by the dam.

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