Jayalalithaa takes on NDMA over dam row

Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa accused NDMA of succumbing to the subterfuge of Kerala by constituting a disaster management team for Mullaperiyar Dam.

Updated: Dec 21, 2011, 14:22 PM IST

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Wednesday, accused the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) of succumbing to the subterfuge of Kerala by constituting a team to formulate a contingency response plan for Mullaperiyar Dam in case it bursts.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also the chairman of the NDMA, Jayalalithaa Tuesday expressed her shock on the setting up of the team.

"This is nothing but succumbing to the subterfuge of government of Kerala and to present a fait accompli to the Supreme Court and the empowered committee constituted by it," she said in the letter, the content of which was released on Wednesday.

The apex court in 2006 ordered the raising of water storage level in the Mullaperiyar Dam to 142 feet. The court appointed an empowered committee to submit a report on the dam safety after conducting various tests.

According to her, the NDMA on December 12 "constituted a team of experts to formulate a contingency response plan for Mullaperiyar Dam and downstream areas with a view to mainly develop the submergence/inundation models for various possible scenarios by earthquakes, floods and/or combination thereof".

"The government of Kerala, in order to circumvent the legal process, approached the NDMA to formulate a contingency response plan in case of a disaster which is a figment of imagination," she said.

"The objective of Kerala appears to be a calculated attempt to pressure the empowered committee to declare the dam unsafe," Jayalalithaa added.

Referring to the inclusion of Indian Institute of Technology-Rourkee professor DK Paul in the NDMA team, Jayalalithaa said the apex court "had not taken cognizance of Kerala`s plea to include him as a witness."

"There is every possibility that his untested views will influence the team of experts of NDMA," she said.

IANS