Thiruvananthapuram: With the Supreme Court order in the Mullaperiyar case coming as a severe setback to the long-held stand of Kerala that the 119-year-old dam is unsafe, the Congress-led UDF Government on Wednesday decided to file a review petition seeking redressal of the state`s grievance.
The state cabinet which looked into the judgement was of the view that the safety concerns of nearly four million people in five downstream districts had not been taken into account by the order.
"Genuine anxieties of Kerala about the safety of the dam did not get sufficient consideration. So, the cabinet is of the view that the apex court should be approached through a review petition," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after the cabinet meeting this evening.
The apex court today held that the Mullaperiyar dam is safe and allowed the Tamil Nadu Government to raise the water level to 142 feet and ultimately to 152 feet after completion of strengthening measures on the dam.
Chandy said Kerala was never opposed to giving water to Tamil Nadu. The sole concern of the state was the safety of the dam. It was out of this consideration that the state assembly unanimously passed the dam safety legislation in 2006.
"Our persistent stand is water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala", he said.
Though there had already been a political consensus in the state on the issue, an all-party meeting would be convened soon to discuss the situation arising out of today`s apex court order, he said.
Chandy rejected the suggestions that there had been lapses in the party of the government in presenting its case convincingly before the court.
The Chief Minister appealed to the agitators in Idukki District to exercise restraints in the protests. "Kerala has always reacted in a restrained manner and we want the same to approach to continue", he said.
Earlier in the day, the opposition LDF also voiced serious concern over the apex court decision.
CPI(M) stalwart and opposition leader V S Achuthanandan termed the order as "most unfortunate" and said it did not take into consideration the safety of over 3.5 million people in five districts--Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam.
Acchuthanandan also took a dig at the Chandy Government in stating it failed to present its concerns convincingly before the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the agitators at Chappath in the dam site area in Idukki District came out in protest against the development and said they would carry on with the agitation for a new dam.
The Mullaperiyar Agitation Council also called a state-wide dawn-to-dusk hartal tomorrow to express the people`s concern over the order.