Kozhikode: The Kerala government on Monday
announced it will go ahead with the construction of a new dam
at Mullaperiyar and urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
"intervene strongly" in the dispute and make Tamil Nadu
initiate "practical steps" on the issue.
"The state government will not go back from its decision
to construct a new dam at an estimated expense of Rs 600
crore," Finance Minister KM Mani told reporters on the
sidelines of a function here.
"Kerala has the right to construct a new dam in Kerala`s
land funded by the state for the safety of the people of the
state," he said, adding about 45 lakh people living in five
districts of Kerala are facing serious threat to their lives.
It was due to the "non-cooperative attitude" of the Tamil
Nadu government that the Mullaperiyar issue was being dragged
on without arriving at a solution, he charged.
Funds have been earmarked in this year`s budget for the
construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar, he said.
Urging Tamil Nadu to adopt a "compassionate approach" to
the issue, Mani said Kerala was never against giving water to
the neighbouring state. "A new dam is the only solution as we
cannot play with the lives of over 45 lakh people living in
the downstream area," he said.
Kerala has been pressing for immediate central
intervention to persuade Tamil Nadu to agree to the proposal
of a new dam at Mullaperiyar holding that the present
116-year-old structure posed a threat to nearly three million
people, mainly in Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts.
However, holding a contradictory view, Tamil Nadu has
opposed construction of a new dam, asserting that the present
reservoir "is as safe and good as new" and accused Kerala of
whipping up fear psychosis.