Dam row: Kerala moots "joint control" idea

Kerala government is set to place its proposal on joint control of the proposed new dam before the SC Empowered panel on the Mullaperiyar issue.

Kannur/Thiruvananthapuram: With Kerala government
set to place its proposal on joint control of the proposed new
dam before the Supreme Court Empowered panel on the
Mullaperiyar issue, the Cabinet decision came in for criticism
from some leaders who alleged it "lacked sufficient clarity".

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated in Kannur that the
Cabinet proposal on joint control of the new dam With Tamil
Nadu and the Centre would be placed before the empowered panel
on Friday.

Former water resources minister and RSP leader N K
Premachandran, however, held that the decision had created
some "confusion and uncertainty".

Though the CPI(M)-led opposition LDF, in which RSP is a
partner, had refrained from making its official stand on the
proposal, Premachandran said the state government`s decision
"lacked clarity".

The proposal marked a shift from Kerala`s stand submitted
before the empowered committee in 2010 that the state should
retain the ownership, operation and maintenance of the new
dam to be built in place of the 116-year-old structure. The
position then was that the joint control pertained only
to regulation of water, Premachandran said.

Asked if he thought the Cabinet`s decision went against
the all-party consensus, he said it would become clear only
after the detailed proposals were made before the empowered

Congress leader V M Sudheeran also voiced reservation over
the government taking a decision without consulting other
political parties."The government should have consulted all
concerned on this vital issue," Sudheeran told reporters.

Speaking at his "mass contact programme" in Kannur, Chandy
said the Cabinet`s proposal would be conveyed to the Empowered
Committee headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand.

Claiming that Kerala`s stand for a new dam had gained wide
acceptance, Chandy said the "state has no hidden agenda as it
has time and again made it clear that Tamil Nadu would
continue to get water from the reservoir".