The Mullaperiyar Action Council has called a dawn-to-dusk hartal across Kerala on Thursday following the Supreme Court's decision to permit Tamil Nadu to raise the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam to 142 feet and its declaration of the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act of 2006 unconstitutional.
No political party has so far come out in support of the hartal call, but almost the entire political spectrum in the State has expressed shock and dismay at the Supreme Court verdict. There was a spontaneous gathering of people at Chappath, the venue of the Mullaperiyar Dam stir in Idukki district, and the Action Council leaders told reporters that they would resume their agitation with renewed vigour in the light of the Supreme Court verdict.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy was cautious in his response to the verdict and told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that the government would continue to pursue measures aimed at ensuring safety of the life and property of the people of the State after studying the text of the verdict.
Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph told reporters that the government would explore possibilities for filing a review petition in the Supreme Court.
Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan accused the State government of having failed to convince the Central government and the about the anxieties of the people of Kerala about the safety of the present dam and called for an urgent session of the Kerala Assembly to discuss the way forward.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran termed the verdict a 'severe blow' for Kerala while Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said it was 'shocking'.