Govt appointed panel contradicts SC committee on Mullaperiyar

Raising concern over location of Mullaperiyar Dam, a panel constituted by govt has said that reservoir is located in an "ecologically fragile" area.

Updated: May 25, 2012, 23:25 PM IST

New Delhi: Raising concern over the location of Mullaperiyar Dam in Kerala, an expert panel constituted by the government has said that the reservoir is located in an "ecologically fragile" area and has "violated all natural laws" by altering the course of Periyar river.

The report by Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) has been made public for comments and discussion weeks after an Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court concluded that the 119-year-old structure was safe and has asked the Kerala Government to reconsider its proposal to build a new dam on the Periyar river.

The WGEEP gives a detailed account of the dams built over rivers in peninsular India and their adverse impact on the ecology there.

"We have complete diversion of river flows at Mullaperiyar and Parambikulam dams involving Kerala and Tamil Nadu. West- flowing rivers have been virtually made into east-flowing rivers by violating all natural laws," the report said.

The report by the panel headed by Professor Madhav Gadgil was submitted to the Ministry of Forest and Environment last year in August.

Recently, the five-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice A S Anand had stated that the structure was safe and recommended that the water level in the dam can be raised to 142 feet from the existing 136 ft.

The Dam is located in Kerala`s Idduki district but is maintained by Tamil Nadu Public Works Department.

While Tamil Nadu has been maintaining that the dam was `absolutely safe` and the water level can be raised to 142 ft, Kerala has been vociferous in its demand for a new dam to be built near the existing structure.

Giving a detail overview of Kerala`s eco-system, the WGEEP report said, "Degradation and disruption of the fragile ecosystems of `God`s own country` are the chief culprits for the water scarcity, nutritional insecurity, loss of primary productivity and agrarian crisis being faced by the state".

It also proposed to decommission all the dams which have existed for over 50 years.