Dam row: Kerala wants Jaya to come for talks

Stepping up its demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar, Kerala Wednesday asked the Jayalalithaa govt to come forward for talks.

Last Updated: Nov 23, 2011, 15:23 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Stepping up its demand
for a new dam at Mullaperiyar, Kerala Wednesday asked the Jayalalithaa government to come forward for talks urgently in view of heightened fears about the safety of the 116-year-old
structure due to recent tremors.

On its part, Kerala was willing to give a firm undertaking
that it would not curtail the water channelled to its
neighbor from the present level after construction of a new dam, Water
Resources Minister P J Joseph said.

Any further delay in construction of a new dam and decommissioning of the existing one would be putting at stake the lives of three million people in downstream areas, he said.

"Tamil Nadu Government should come forward for a dialogue
in view of the extremely weak condition of the dam, which has
been rendered further vulnerable by recurring tremors in the
area surrounding it", he told reporters after a review meeting
with senior engineers.

"Kerala Government is ready to give an assurance at any
forum that the present quantity of water will be given to
Tamil Nadu. We are ready to sign any type of agreement and
there is no need for our neighbour to entertain any anxiety on
that count," he said.

Areas close to the dam, located in Idukki district, have
been shaken by as many as 20 tremors since July this year.
A study by experts from Roorkie IIT had warned that the
dam could collapse if the area is shaken by a 6.5 Richter
scale magnitude earthquake, he said.

In such a grim scenario, it would be difficult even to
save the lives of people. If Mullaperiyar Dam fails, its
storage would flow into Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu dams
and make them overflow to downstream areas, he said.

PTI