Even as the state filed an filed an interim plea in Supreme Court on Wednesday seeking to lower the water level to 120 ft in the Mullaperiyar dam, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said an all-party delegation from Kerala would soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue
Intensifying its campaign for a new reservoir at Mullaperiyar, an all-party delegation from Kerala will soon meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The state on Wednesday filed an interim plea in Supreme Court seeking to lower the water level to 120 ft in the 116-year-old dam.
The date for the delegation to go Delhi would be decided after the Prime Minister’s appointment, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
The all-party delegation, which would include Chief Minister and the Opposition leader, would press for a new dam in view of the serious safety concerns caused due to frequent tremors in Idukki district where the present structure is located.
To reinforce its case that the dam is weak, the state would ask IIT Roorkie to expedite the report it had sought on the “dam-break analysis” based on which the government could draw up a detailed report on the magnitude of the disaster in case the dam collapses.
As part of the disaster management plans, a Flood Field Mapping Unit would be set up at Thekkadi, near the dam site, and a satellite imaging of the area would be conducted using digital technology.
Strengthening the legal measures, a four-member cabinet sub-committee was formed to prepare a detailed affidavit on the disaster management plans to be submitted to the Kerala High Court.
Reiterating the call for restraint on the part of protesters, Mr. Chandy said there had been some attempts from the other side to inflate some minor incidents which had led to further reaction.
Kerala wants to resolve the dam issue without disturbing its cordial relations with Tamil Nadu, Mr. Chandy said and termed as unfortunate the incidents of violence that had recently taken place in connection with the matter.
Kerala DGP Jacob Punnose was in touch with Tamil Nadu police to tackle the situation and the latter had offered cooperation, he said.
Referring to the controversy over Advocate General K P Dandapani’s submissions in the High court, Mr. Chandy said it was a “closed chapter” as he (AG) had explained his position to the cabinet.
“We are struggling for a lofty cause and we should move unitedly for achieving it. If there are mistakes in that endeavour, they would be corrected,” he said.
Mr. Chandy said Mr. Dandapani explained that he had not made any statements contradicting the state’s position in the case and that some points he made had been misquoted by a section of media.
Opposition parties had demanded action against Mr. Dandapani, alleging that his submissions had in effect weakened the state’s case that the condition of the dam was very precarious and its collapse could pose a dire threat to over three million people.
Referring to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s contention in her letter to the Prime Minister that Idukki dam could contain the waters if the Mullaperiyar dam broke, Mr. Chandy said this was a virtual admission by Tamil Nadu that the dam was weak.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, who observed a day’s fast at Vandiperiyar in Idukki district on the issue, appealed to the Tamil Nadu government not to do anything that would put the lives of Keralites at stake. He blamed the Centre for ignoring Kerala’s ‘just demand’ for a new dam which the state had been pressing for long.