The Subject Committee on Water Resources will look into the controversy over the ownership of four dams, Speaker G. Karthikeyan has said.

Mr. Karthikeyan told the Assembly on Thursday that Jameela Prakasam, who raised the issue in the Assembly on Wednesday, would be a special invitee to the committee. Proceedings were stalled on Wednesday over an entry in the National Register of Large Dams (NRLD) that the Mullaperiyar, Thunakadavu, Parambikulam, and Peruvaripallam dams in the State were operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s reply in the Assembly on Thursday again led to a ruckus and the proceedings were stalled. Mr. Chandy said the four dams were not included in the NRLD list under Kerala register published by the Central Water Commission (CWC) 2009, but were under Tamil Nadu register.

The footnote

The footnote said “Periyar dam located in Kerala but controlled by Tamil Nadu.”

On noticing it, the Irrigation Research and Design Board (IRDB) Chief Engineer on May 7, 2012, insisted that the CWC make necessary changes in the 2009 records as the dams were in Kerala. The State government too took up the issue on July 19, 2012.

The CWC replied that the content was compiled on the basis of the information provided by various States, including Kerala, and no comments or modifications were furnished for updating it. On the basis of the State’s clarification, it was modified, he said.

Tamil Nadu had raised a demand at a National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS) meeting on December 27, 2013, to add that the four dams were owned, operated, and maintained by Tamil Nadu. It was changed subsequently. The word ‘owned’ was not used and the dams were not included in the list of Tamil Nadu. When the State government received the minutes of the meeting, again the demand for removing the footnote was raised.

The minutes of the last NCDS meeting would be approved only at the next meeting and it would be raised again.

Now the four dams were in the list of Kerala, he said.

The changes were made out of agenda and hence the official representing the State could not react on it, but officials should be more cautious in such cases, he said.

But Ms. Prakasam said that NCDS, in a letter to the IRDB Chief Engineer, had said that Kerala had accepted Tamil Nadu’s argument and the State representative was silent on it.

Reasons sought

She sought the reasons for such lapses. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan too raised the same issue. Mr. Chandy again said it was brought out of agenda and that the government would not accept such demands.

Then the Opposition members moved to the well and proceedings were temporarily suspended at 11.20 a.m. Subsequently, it was resumed at 12.30 p.m. and Mr. Karthikeyan announced that the Assembly committee would look into the issue.

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