Dam safety bill `detrimental` to TN interests

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said certain provisions regarding jurisdiction of dam and related aspects were "detrimental" to Tamil Nadu`s interests.

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2011, 15:31 PM IST

Chennai: In a legal battle with Kerala over the contentious issue of raising water level of Mullaperiyar dam, Tamil Nadu on Saturday opposed the proposed Dam Safety Bill, 2010, contending that certain provisions in the bill were
"detrimental" to the state`s interests.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said certain provisions regarding jurisdiction of dam and related aspects were "detrimental" to Tamil Nadu`s interests.

She said sub-clause 26 (1) of the Bill stated that all specified dams shall fall under the jurisdiction of the state where the dam is situated and that the non-state Dam Safety Organisation and owner of the specified dam shall cooperate with it in matters of inspection and remedial measures.

"The wording in the clause viz the state in which the dam is situated makes it explicitly clear that any specified dam will fall under the jurisdiction of the Dam Safety Organisation or State Dam Safety Cell of the state in whose territory the dam is situated," she said.

These provisions will directly interfere with the safety and functioning of the dams owned, operated and maintained by a state government in a situation where as the dams are located in the territory of another state.

"Four dams, Mullaperiyar Dam, Parambikulam Dam, Thunakadavu Dam and Peruvaripallam Dam, are owned, operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu, whereas they are situated in the territory of Kerala," Jayalalithaa said.

The Mullaperiyar reservoir is situated in Idukki district bordering the two states. While Kerala is pressing for a new dam citing safety aspects, Tamil Nadu has opposed it holding that the state would not get sufficient quantity of water
which it now gets to irrigate parts of Madurai district.

The dispute is now under consideration of the Supreme Court which had appointed an Empowered Committee to look into the safety and other aspects of the existing structure.

PTI