Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala assembly Monday, for a record fourth time, passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the Centre act as a mediator for building a new dam at Mullaperiyar.
At an all-party meeting last week, it was decided to invoke Rule 130 to initiate a discussion on the Mullaperiyar dam issue.
This was in the wake of the Supreme Court May 7 striking down the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006 restricting the dam`s water level at 136 feet, restraining Kerala from interfering or obstructing in any manner Tamil Nadu from increasing the level to 142 feet besides giving a clean chit to the safety of the 119-year-old leaking dam.
Monday, the first day of the new session saw CPI-M leader V.S. Achuthanandan beginning the discussion. He lost no opportunity to slam the Oommen Chandy-led government for not doing its job in the apex court because of which Kerala was at the receiving end.
"A special committee should be formed with experts to verify the safety of the present dam," said Achuthanandan.
Speaker after speaker from both the treasury and the opposition benches demanded a new dam and while some blamed retired Justice K.T. Thomas who was in the apex court committee for not doing justice to Kerala, others wanted the Centre to intervene.
State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph said the full constitution bench of the Supreme Court should look into the matter.
Chandy pointed out they have only one demand and that`s water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala as close to four million people living downstream of the present dam are living in fear.
"The president of India should take up the issue with the Supreme Court for a new dam and the Central Water Commission long back had suggested a new dam is the only way out," said Chandy.
Subsequently, the assembly unanimously passed the resolution. This would now be sent to the president and also to the Centre.
For the record, this is the fourth unanimous resolution passed by the assembly demanding a new dam.
The first one was way back in 1993 when K. Karunakaran was the chief minister. Next one came in 2009 when Achuthanandan was heading the state while the third was in 2011, a few months after Chandy began his second tenure as chief minister.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj.
While it is located in Kerala, its waters serve Tamil Nadu.