Jaya objects to monitoring of Mullaperiyar dam by Kerala

Jaya objects to monitoring of Mullaperiyar dam by Kerala

As the Supreme Court-appointed experts panel report on the state of Mullaperiyar dam is awaited by Feb-end, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha on Thursday strongly opposed the Kerala government’s move to install a “real time monitoring system for water build-up” at the dam.

The Kerala government has reportedly entered into an agreement with the Union Ministry of Science and Technology to install the proposed monitoring system on the Mullaperiyar reservoir. This is yet another “unilateral action of interfering in the management of the dam,” Jayalalitha asserted.

The Kerala government move without “the consent of Tamil Nadu is a blatant violation of the Principle of Federalism and the Constitutional framework,”Jayalalithaa protested in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday. Terming the initiative as yet another instance of Kerala’s “fear mongering about the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam”  Jayalalithaa said the Supreme Court appointed Justice Dr A S Anand Committee was fully seized of issues related to the safety of the dam and was likely to submit its report to the apex court, shortly.

Hence, the Kerala government’s latest move “is yet another attempt to exacerbate fears in Kerala about the safety of the dam, and to present a ‘fait accompli’ to the Supreme Court when the matter is sub judice,” Jayalalitha complained.

Stating that the Mullaperiyar dam and its appurtenant structures “are owned and maintained by the Government of Tamil Nadu”, she urged the prime minister to direct the Science and Technology Ministry “from entering into any agreement with Kerala and to annul any agreement if already entred into.”

Jayalalitha also sought a direction from the prime minister to the concerned Ministry and Kerala government “not to proceed further with any activity against the established rights of Tamil Nadu” over Mullaperiyar dam.  The Opposition led by the DMK has been queering the pitch for a solution to the dam row by the Centre taking steps to re-merge the Tamil-speaking areas of Devikulam and Peermedu Taluks of Kerala’s Idukki district, where the Mullaperiyar dam is located, with Tamil Nadu.

However, the ruling AIADMK, in the Governor’s Address to the Assembly recently, mooted a counter-proposal to help resolve the Mullaperiyar dam controversy. It called for a rethink on the present institutional framework and urged the Centre to ensure in the proposed ‘Dam Safety Bill’ to “entrust the safety of dams to the Dam Safety Cell of the State owning the dam, instead of to the State where the dam is situated.”