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The Narmada Dam Project, known officially as the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP), is a project involving the construction of a series of large hydroelectric dams on the Narmada River in India. The project was first conceived of in the 1940s by the country's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The project only took form in 1979 as part of a development scheme to increase irrigation and produce hydroelectricity. The Narmada dam is India's most controversial dam project and its environmental impact and net costs and benefits are widely debated. The Narmada Dam has been the center of controversy and protest since the late 1980s.

Local protests taking the form of a genuine peoples movement, known as the Narmada Bachao Andolan (Save Narmada Movement) have been led by Medha Patkar. The World Bank was a funder of the SSP, but withdrew after an independent review in 1990. Indian writer Arundhati Roy has protested the Narmada Dam project.

Spanner Films's documentary Drowned Out (2002) follows one tribal family who decide to stay at home and drown rather than make way for the Narmada Dam.

Further ReadingEdit

  • Jacques Leslie, Deep Water: The Epic Struggle over Dams, Displaced People, and the Enviornment, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2005), hardcover, 252 pages, ISBN 0374281726

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