New Delhi: The Centre has decided to keep in abeyance the recommendations of an expert panel to construct a dam in the Siruvani river in Kerala.
Replying to the Tamil Nadu after it objected to the dam plan, the Centre said, “The matter has been examined in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and it has been decided to keep the recommendations by Expert Appraisal Committee, in abeyance, till the references filed in Supreme Court against the order of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal are settled or get a positive consent for the ensuing Project from Government of Tamil Nadu.
In August, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's urgent intervention for withdrawing a central committee's recommendation for an environmental impact assessment study on a proposal of Kerala government to build a dam across river Siruvani at Attappady.
In a letter to Modi, she said the expert appraisal committee for River Valley and Hydroelectric projects of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, at its recent meeting had recommended a study on the proposal of Kerala "without obtaining the necessary comments" from the Tamil Nadu government.
"I write seeking your urgent intervention to withdraw the recommendations made by the Committee for grant of Standard Terms of Reference for conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment study on the proposal of Kerala government to build a dam across river Siruvani," she said.
Stating that the river Siruvani is a "sub-tributary" of the Cauvery, also an inter-state river, she recalled that in June 2012 she had written to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to advise Kerala not to proceed with building the dam of 4.5 TMC ft across Siruvani for the Attappady Valley Irrigation Project as it would be in violation of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal's Final Order.
Objecting to the nod for the EIA study, she said it is "regrettable" that grant has been given in an "unwarranted" haste without the subject being a part of regular agenda of the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) meeting held on August 11 and 12 and no intimation to the Tamil Nadu government.
The Tamil Nadu assembly had also passed a resolution against Kerala's proposal to construct a dam.
With agency inputs