Mullaperiyar: All-party meet in Kerala moots legal steps

An all-party meet held here today to discuss the situation arising over the Supreme Court verdict rejecting Kerala`s contentions in Mullaperiyar case.

Thiruvananthapuram: An all-party meet held here today to discuss the situation arising over the Supreme Court verdict rejecting Kerala`s contentions in Mullaperiyar case endorsed the UDF Government`s move to explore legal options for redressal of the state`s concern about the safety of 119-year-old dam.

The meeting, attended by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Leader of the Opposition in Assembly V S Achuthanandan and leaders of other parties, decided to consult senior lawyers to explore such options as filing a review or a curative petition against last week`s judgement which gave nod to Tamil Nadu to raise the water level from 136 to 142 feet.

Addressing media alongwith Achuthanandan, Chandy said there was a `complete political consensus` on seeking legal options. It was Achuthanandan who suggested the possibility of filing a curative petition, he said.

"Our prime concern is the safety of the people. We have never opposed giving water to Tamil Nadu. Our stand has always been safety for Kerala and water for Tamil Nadu and will continue to be so," the Chief Minister said.

Several suggestions had come up during the meeting and all of them would be considered in a collective manner, he said.

Achuthanandan said over 3.5 million people in five downstream district had been living in great anxiety.

In a setback to Kerala, the apex court had on May 7 struck down a law passed by the state Assembly in 2006 to buttress its stand that increasing the water level above 136 feet would render the dam further unsafe and be a perennial threat to nearly four million people living downstream.
Mullaperiyar dam and its 999-year water lease agreement entered into between erstwhile royal regime of Travancore and the Madras Presidency had been a bone of contention between the two states for quite some time.
Kerala has been pressing for construction of a new dam to replace the existing one, but the Supreme Court held that the reservoir was 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.

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