The 1450MW hydroelectric project, which cost an estimated US$7.7B to build, was completed on 31 December nearly 20 years after construction began.
The dam, which stands at 122m high and 1250m long, will irrigate 200,000ha of land and help provide drinking water and flood control to the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
The project has however been the subject of intense criticism from environmentalists, who are concerned about the displacement of over 300,000 people. They also state that fertile land and important archeological sites will be lost as a result of the project.
Environmental groups presented a petition to the Supreme Court in mid 2006, but the project was given the go-ahead after India's prime minister gave assurances on the resettlement of displaced families.
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