“Their report cannot be considered as views of the panel”
Alleging that the attitude of the two technical members, C.D. Thatte and D.K. Mehta, during the inspection of the Mullaperiyar dam last week was unfair and prejudicial to the State's interests, Kerala on Monday filed an application stating that their report could not considered as the views of the empowered committee.
Besides the two technical members, the empowered committee comprises former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand, Justice K.T. Thomas, retired Supreme Court Judge, representing Kerala, and Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, retired Supreme Court judge, representing Tamil Nadu.
The committee is to consider the inspection report of the dam and various other reports on Tuesday at its internal meeting.
In its application Kerala said that while inspecting the main Mullaperiyar dam, Dr. Thatte enquired about the status of core boring. This work, which was to be carried out a year back, had not yet started. “We expressed our doubt as to how the report of the Empowered Committee can be finalised without getting the results of the most important test of finding the strength parameters of the ‘lime surkhi concrete' [test]. Dr. Thatte did not give a satisfactory reply.”
Further, it said: “When we pointed out that Kerala was not being properly informed about the visits of experts for deciding and carrying out tests, Dr. Thatte became furious. He remarked that if another committee is constituted in future, we shall consider your request. This was a very humiliating reply.”
Kerala said: “The two members then inspected the Earth dam and the Baby dam. Instructions were issued to the Tamil Nadu engineers to uproot all trees standing on the earth dam to provide rubble pitching on the upstream up to 165 ft on the reservoir side to form the slopes of the Earth dam, to provide concrete wearing coat over the Earth dam etc. These works are to be taken up and completed on a war footing.”
Kerala alleged: “To our great shock, Dr. Thatte advised the Tamil Nadu engineers that ‘this is the manner in which you have to build your case before the empowered committee'.”
It said that the action of Dr. Thatte and Mr. Mehta in advising and directing Tamil Nadu to carry out extensive repair and strengthening measures not covered by or intended in the orders of the Supreme Court had to be viewed as overstepping their jurisdiction.