Kerala wants PM's intervention to resolve Mullaperiyar issue

With concerns over water level in Mullaperiyar dam nearly touching the permissible limit of 142 feet, the Kerala government on Tuesday expressed anxiety over Tamil Nadu's "indifferent" attitude and said the state would be taking legal options.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 08, 2015, 15:27 PM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: With concerns over water level in Mullaperiyar dam nearly touching the permissible limit of 142 feet, the Kerala government on Tuesday expressed anxiety over Tamil Nadu's "indifferent" attitude and said the state would be taking legal options.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that he would take up this issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Delhi visit.

The state today decided to file a petition in the Supreme Court complaining that reservoir supervisory committee had opened dam shutters and released water to Periyar river last night without the mandatory 12 hours prior notice to Kerala.

Stating this in the Assembly, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said though Kerala had informed Tamil Nadu two days ago about the high inflow of water to the dam and wanted it to draw maximum water "their response was not favourable".

"This attitude of the Tamil Nadu government in not taking into account the anxiety of Keralites was unfortunate and condemnable", Chandy said.

He was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion by ES Bijimol (CPI) on the anxiety and fear of the people living in dam site after the water level almost touched the apex court fixed 142 feet.

"I have sent a fax message on this matter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa stating that situation was dangerous and sought urgent steps. But their response was negative", Chandy said while asserting that Kerala always wanted to have cordial relations with its neighbour.

Seeking the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the decades long inter-state dam dispute, Chandy said he would take up this issue during his Delhi visit on December 9 and 10.

Tamil Nadu not only failed to draw the maximum water that they could, but also did not inform the state on the opening the dam shutters, Chandy said, adding, this would be brought to the apex court's attention.

"All administrative and legal options would be explored by the state to solve the issue", he said.

The more than 120-year-old masonry dam is situated in Idukki district in Kerala and is owned and operated by the Tamil Nadu government.Countering opposition LDF's charges that government was

helpless and not doing anything to resolve the issue, Chandy said the Centre's earlier attempts to have a meeting of Chief Ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu failed to materialise due to the neighbouring state's "adamant attitude".

He asserted that the state's declared stand was "water for Tamil Nadu and Safety for Kerala" and "a permanent solution" to the Mullaperiyar dam issue.

The stand was taken to alleviate the fears and apprehensions of the people living in the five downstream districts of the dam.

Chandy said Kerala would go ahead with its proposal for constructing a 'Safety Dam', below the existing one with an assurance that there would not be any reduction in the quantity of water Tamil Nadu gets now'.

State Water Resources and Irrigation Minister PJ Joseph accused the Tamil Nadu of taking "unilateral decision" on the Dam issue.

In the wake of heavy rainfall in Tamil Nadu, Joseph said "no one can write off an expert committee report that there was a possibility of water level increasing by 158-160 feet in the dam if there was a 60 cm rainfall in 48 hours in the reservoir's catchment area, an area where heavy rainfall occurs".

Lashing out at the government, opposition leader, VS Achutanandan said the state government had failed to effectively take up the issue with the Centre. The state needs to urgently bring the danger posed to the lives and properties of about 35-40 lakh people living in the five downstream districts.

Achutanandan also wanted the state to bring this matter before the National Human Rights commission.

Chandy assured that after the administrative and legal options, this also would be looked into by the government.