New Delhi: The Centre on Wednesday appealed to Tamil Nadu and Kerala to amicably settle the issue of Mullaperiyar Dam between them and expressed its willingness to play a role of "facilitator".
"It is amongst themselves that the matter can be sorted
out. We can only play a role of facilitator. We want the
matter to be sorted out amicably between the two states,"
Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told
reporters here, stressing that water was a state subject.
"There is no power with Government of India to impose any
decision of its own," Bansal said and added that the Centre
could not take any action till Supreme Court-appointed special
committee headed by Justice A S Anand looked into the safety
aspect of the dam.
Meanwhile, MPs from Kerala today decided to take up the
matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The decision of the Kerala MPs to meet Singh came after
DMK MPs raked up in the Lok Sabha the issue of a film based on
damage wreaked by the collapse of a dam and demanded a ban on
its release. The members complained that the film was based
on the story of Mullaperiyar Dam, over which Tamil Nadu and
Kerala are locked in a legal dispute.
Senior Congress MP P C Chacko said all Kerala MPs will
meet Prime Minister to demand that Kerala should be allowed to
construct a new dam in place of the existing structure which
is weakened by the recent tremors, posing a threat to not only
the livelihood but lives of millions of people.
"We will meet the Prime Minister. We have already sought
an appointment," Chacko said.
Tamil Nadu has always been opposed to constructing a new
dam near the existing structure, which supplies water to its
several southern districts.
Describing the issue as "serious", CPI (M) Rajya Sabha MP
K N Balagopal said the central government should urgently
intervene to amicably settle the issue with Tamil Nadu.
Kerala Congress (M) MP Jose K Mani said three districts
including Idukki, Kottayam and Ernakulam will be wiped off the
state`s map, if the dam bursts. He pointed out that tremors
had occurred near the 116-year-old dam on November 18.
"Kerala MPs have asked to see the Prime Minister on the
issue of Mullaperiyar Dam. Because frankly for us it is now
question of life," former Union Minister and Lok Sabha MP
Shashi Tharoor said. He said cracks have appeared in the dam
due to tremors.
"If there is a major earthquake, literally the geography
of the area will change," Tharoor said and claimed that lives
of 25 lakh people were in danger.
"It is a very serious matter. This is not something that
one can reduce to a water dispute. Kerala is willing to give
water to Tamil Nadu. (We) Just need a new dam to replace the
one which is so vulnerable. That`s all the issue is and we
need to explain this to the Prime Minister," he said.