Chennai: A day after Kerala Assembly passed a unanimous resolution insisting on a new reservoir to replace the Mullaperiyar dam, the Tamil Nadu government has sought to build pressure on the stakeholders by insisting the 116-year-old structure is safe.
The Jayalalithaa government on Saturday released full-page advertisements in several newspapers in Kerala, in which the state Chief Minister called on the people "not to succumb to divisive forces".
"The Mullaperiyar dam is safe. It is designed to absorb and moderate flood upto 400000 cusecs," the advertisement reads. "Human settlement in the area is much above flood waters of Mullaperiyar. Only illegal resorts by land grabbers will get submerged when storage is raised. Some cite this as reason for the plea against dam," it further adds.
The advertisement further goes on to say: "We are both committed to maintaining and cherishing cordial relations."
On Friday, the one-day special Kerala Assembly session adopted a resolution moved by Chief Minister Ommen Chandy asking the Centre and the state government to take steps to build a new dam, an issue that has erupted again in recent weeks putting both the neighbours on a collision course.
Also yesterday, the opposition DMK in Tamil Nadu expressed dissatisfaction with both Centre and AIADMK government in the state over their handling of the issue and announced a hunger strike and a mammoth human chain next week protesting Kerala's demand.
DMK called an emergent meeting of its executive council and passed a resolution blaming "narrow political considerations" by some persons in Kerala for "tension in the border" and expressed fear it would affect cordial relations between people of the two states.
It also asked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to convene an all-party meeting so as to present a picture of unity on the decades old issue over the dam, located in Kerala but controlled by Tamil Nadu under a 999-year-long lease.
As the issue hotted up, Tamils, including Lord Ayyappa devotees, were allegedly attacked in Kerala while in retaliation some shops owned by Keralites were targeted by fringe Tamil outfits in parts of Tamil Nadu.
Dismissing fears over the dam as unfounded, Jayalalithaa has written to the Prime Minister thrice in a fortnight asking him to advise Kerala not to create a fear psychosis. She has also sought deployment of Central Industrial Security Force personnel at the dam site.
(With PTI inputs)
First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011, 11:45