Government's stance clearly stated in affidavit: Thiruvanchoor

The State government on Saturday distanced itself from the growing controversy over the submissions made by Advocate-General K.P. Dandapani in the Kerala High Court on Friday on the Mullaperiyar dam issue.

Speaking to media persons at a hurriedly called press conference, Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, after he distributed copies of the affidavit submitted in the Kerala High Court on Friday, said that the stance of the government had been clearly stated in the affidavit and there had not been any dilution in the demands of the State.

“The government does not have any opinion beyond what has been mentioned in the written statement. Any deviation from the affidavit does not put the onus of liability upon the government.”

“My personal opinion is that the Advocate-General has committed a mistake. The responsibility of the Advocate-General is to convey, without ambiguities, the stance of the government before the judiciary. Moreover, our position has been made clear in the affidavit. Therefore, it can be inferred that he did not exercise sufficient prudence in the matter. There was no reason to wander beyond the point of what had been mentioned in the affidavit. If he has made any comments that went against the government's stance, he will have to correct them without fail,” he said.

Contrary to a reported submission made by the Advocate-General, Mr. Radhakrishnan clarified that the water level in the dam had a direct consequence on its strength.

Lauds media's role

He also rubbished the reported statements that held the media responsible for creating a fear psychosis among the public. “The media must be lauded for the role it has played in bringing the issue to the mainstream and sensitising the public on the seriousness of the issue. Such efforts have led to the presence of the required intensity of caution among the common populace. The statements of the Advocate-General should be seen as his personal opinion and the government does not share the same view,” he said.

Legal validity to be checked

To whether the reported submissions would weaken the government's stance in the issue, Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the government would verify the legal validity of those statements that were not part of the affidavit. “I am confident that they would not be legally binding upon the State government and will be considered as the personal comments of the Advocate-General,” he said.

He appealed against politicising the latest development pertaining to the submissions at the Kerala High Court as it would divert the attention from the prime issue. He also said that the issue should not be linked in any manner to the impending Assembly by-election at the Piravom constituency.

CPI(M) stand

Referring to the resolution passed by the Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) regarding the issue, Mr. Radhakrishnan opined that there existed a ‘vertical difference' within the party. He also said that the Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan should seek to influence the party's policy in the matter and create a favourable stand.

“I agree with Mr. Achuthanandan's comment that the resolution did not reflect the feeling of the State,” he said.

Mr. Radhakrishnan also said that there was no need to discuss the issue of constructing a new dam with the Government of Tamil Nadu. “The Periyar river is an intra-State river that flows only through Kerala and into the Arabian Sea. Constructing a barrier across the river does not require the necessity of holding talks with our neighbouring State, which only happens to be a third party in the matter. However, as the area falls under the Periyar Tiger Reserve, we would require the necessary clearances from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. Moreover, the project should also be approved by the Central Water Commission,” he said.