How will you save millions? HC asks Kerala on dam

The Kerala High Court on Wednesday pulled up the state government and asked it to explain its plan to save the lives of millions of people in the eventuality of a breach in the over 116-year-old dam.

Updated: Dec 01, 2011, 00:35 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Kochi: Expressing concern over the safety of Mullaperiyar dam, the Kerala High Court on Wednesday pulled up the state government and asked it to explain its plan to save the lives of millions of people in the eventuality of a breach in the over 116-year-old dam.

A bench headed by the acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur directed the state government to submit a detailed affidavit by Friday listing out the details about the dam’s current condition and explain to the court the specific measures the government intends to take to evacuate people in case of a breach.

The state government has also been asked to appraise the court about the ways to create awareness among the masses. The court asked the state government to demarcate safe and non safe areas so that there is no panic, the state government was also asked to publicise the names of officials who are responsible for disaster management in the state.

The court’s strict stand comes amid increased concerns about the safety of the dam. Iddukki district in Kerala where the dam is situated has been experiencing seismic tremors creating panic among the people of the state.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been fighting over the dam for long. The dam is in Kerala but is operated by the Tamil Nadu government by way of a lease agreement. While the government of Tamil Nadu wants to increase the storage level of the dam, the Kerala government opposes it citing safety concerns.

Meanwhile, Kerala government has decided to convene a special one-day session of the state Assembly on December 9 to discuss the Mullperiyar dam issue.
Opposition LDF was taken into confidence before taking the decision, Chief Minister Oomen Chandy told reporters here after a special cabinet meeting.

The assembly would deliberate the matter to "reflect the public sentiments of Kerala" on the dam issue over which Kerala is locked in a standoff with Tamil Nadu, he said.

As the row over the century-old dam escalated, Chandy is slated to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday to press for constructing a new dam in place of the old structure over which Kerala has been raising safety concerns.

Yesterday, ministers from the state as well as MPs had met the PM over the issue.

The cabinet also decided that a letter would be sent Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa detailing the technical reasons behind the concerns being raised in Kerala.

In Delhi, MPs from the state have been protesting in the Parliament over the issue.