Contending that Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, his Ministers and officials are creating a fear psychosis among the people by issuing statements on the Mullaperiyar dam's safety, Tamil Nadu on Thursday moved the Supreme Court to restrain them from making any remark on de-commissioning of the dam or construction of a new one.
An application filed by Tamil Nadu brought on record various statements issued or made by the Chief Minister and Ministers and officials in the past few days to drive home its point that the apprehensions about the dam's safety had no basis, as it was structurally safe and strong.
The application said that recently the officials and a Minister said that 22 mild tremors had occurred in parts of Idukki and adjacent Kottayam districts and two minor cracks were believed to have been caused to the dam by the latest tremor, and “Kerala wants to decommission the old dam and build a new dam.” Tamil Nadu maintained that the reported tremors “are negligible and, in any event, were below 3.5 on the Richter scale. There are no cracks in the dam as alleged, and the fear psychosis created is absolutely baseless. The false propaganda of 22 tremors in the past four months resulting in the dam becoming unsafe is being made without any basis as there were only four tremors in the recent past.”
It said: “It is most inappropriate for the State of Kerala, through its Chief Minister and others, to make strongly worded statements to the effect that a new dam is the only solution. When the matter is sub judice, such statements ought not to be made. If this court finds the existing dam to be safe, there would be no need for a new dam.”
“Tremors had no effect”
Tamil Nadu said the dam was designed to withstand earthquakes as per the Indian Standard (IS) Code, and between 1819 and 2005, there had been instances of 76 earthquakes. The recent tremors did not have any impact on the dam as the tremors were not even felt in the vicinity of the dam. “The dam is fully strengthened and safe and has developed no cracks as claimed by the State of Kerala.”
It said the statements were false propaganda in support of decommissioning the dam and constructing a new one. It argued that these amounted to interference with the due course of law and/or obstructing the administration of justice as the issue of the dam's safety and building a new dam were pending before the Supreme Court.
Tamil Nadu was compelled to file the present application in view of the developments that had occurred during the past 15 days, when the Empowered Committee was examining the issue and was yet to submit its report to the Supreme Court.
Keywords: Mullaperiyar dam issue