The Empowered Committee on Mullaperiyar, led by its chairman A.S. Anand, visited the site of the Kerala Periyar Dam, the new one proposed by the Kerala government on Tuesday.
The team of officials led by K. Jayakumar, additional chief secretary of the Kerala government, explained to the visiting team that the proposed dam was a technically feasible proposition and the state government had prepared a technical report for the same. The government had also initiated the process for the preparation of a detailed project report, the committee members were informed.
The position of the proposed dam was explained to the team with the help of a detailed map. The new site is 366 metre away from the existing dam and 15 bore holes have been dug in the new site as part of the preparatory work for the construction of the new dam. Once the new dam is constructed, only 50 hectare of land will be submerged. There would be no considerable loss to vegetation as it will be eucalyptus trees that would be mostly lost, Mr. Jayakumar explained.
The five-member committee has K.T. Thomas and A.R. Lakshmanan, former judges of the Supreme Court, C.D. Thatte, former secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources and D.K. Mehta, former Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, as its members.
The Kerala authorities had erected flags at the site of the proposed site so as to give an indication regarding the alignment and position of the dam. When one of the technical experts sought more information regarding the proposed dam, the Kerala officials refused to divulge the details and maintained that those were sensitive information. The government is going ahead with steps for the construction of the new dam, they informed the committee member.
N.K. Premachandran, Minister for Water Resources, Kerala and Thangam Thennarasu, Minister for Education, Tamil Nadu, was at Thekkady on Tuesday following the visit of the expert committee. However, both of them chose not to accompany the visiting team to the dam site.
N.K. Parameswaran Nair of the Mullaperiyar Special Cell of Kerala, R. Subramanian of the Cauvery Technical cell and Inter State Water Wing of Tamil Nadu, P. Lalitha and C.N. Sati, Chief Engineers of the Irrigation department, Kerala and James Wilson, member, Mullaperiyar Special Cell, Kerala, accompanied the team.
Earlier in the day, the team members visited the Mullaperiyar dam along with the officials and representatives of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The team visited the inspection gallery, baby dam and earthen dam at the Mullaperiyar dam. The seepage and leakage from the dam was also brought to the attention of the team members, an official said. Later, the team members left for Kochi.