Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the people of Kevadia in Gujarat on his 69th birthday said the River Narmada is a blessing for the state and the people of Gujarat. PM Modi spoke about a time where for weeks on at a stretch there were areas that the water could not reach. “In Gujarat decades ago, the situation was extremely bad and in those days the fight for water would lead to bullets being fired too,” PM Modi added.
“Daughters and sisters were required to walk five to ten kilometres to arrange drinking water,” the Prime Minister said. "In summer, the people of Saurashtra and the North of Gujarat would take their livestock and walk for hundreds of kilometres abandoning their houses and farms as they were forced to move to a place where they knew water would be easily available". PM Modi added, “I remember in the year 2000 the heatwave was so bad that the condition in Rajkot, Surendranagar and Jamnagar was such that for the water to be able to reach them, for the first time due to the situation we had to use special water trains to deliver water to these areas.”
PM Modi after reminiscing about those old days added that “Gujarat has come a very long way from what it used to be.” The Prime Minister asked the crowd, “Are you proud or no? Are you happy?”.
Modi before addressing the crowd at Kevadiya took part in the 'Namami Narmade' festival being celebrated by the Gujarat government to mark the filling up of the dam to its full reservoir level of 138.68 metres. For the first time since the height of the dam was raised in 2017, the water level reached its highest peak at 138.68 metres on Sunday evening. Modi along with Rupani, then performed 'puja' at the dam site to welcome the water of river Narmada, the lifeline of Gujarat.