Minister for Water Resources P.J. Joseph has said a ministerial-level talk on the renewal of the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) between Kerala and Tamil Nadu will be held soon to resolve the long-standing issues on sharing the waters of Periyar, Chalakudipuzha, and Bharathapuzha.
Addressing presspersons after a review meeting of projects under his Ministry here on Friday, the Minister said 16 rounds of official-level talks between the two States had failed to resolve the issue.
The last official-level meeting was held on January 21 between the Chief Secretaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Since the official-level talks did not yield any result, a ministerial-level talk between the two States would be held soon to renew the PAP agreement, the Minister said.
When asked about Tamil Nadu's demand for Anamalayar river water for agreeing to renew the agreement, the Minister said that Kerala cannot surrender its interest at any cost. But all these issues would be discussed during the talk, Mr. Joseph said.
The Minister said the Attappady Valley Irrigation Project (AVIP) would be implemented soon to utilise the 6 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) water awarded to Kerala by the Cauvery Water Tribunal. This water had to be utilised to solve the drinking and irrigation water problems of the Attappady tribal area.
He said the project would help to irrigate 5,000 hectares of land at Attappady.
When asked about withholding the project for the last 30 years due to ‘prohibitive cost,' the Minister said that cost alone was not the criteria in such projects. Kerala had to utilise its share of Cauvery water to justify its claim for more water from the tribunal, Mr. Joseph said.
He said repairing of the breached right bank protection structure of Moolathara Dam, an important component of PAP agreement, would be taken up immediately.
He said the criticism that the breach could not be repaired because the Irrigation Design Research Board had failed to provide the design would be looked into by a Chief Engineer. The Minister said the government would go ahead with the previous government's scheme of removing sand from reservoirs in the State.
He said the reservoir sand would help stop the reckless exploitation of sand from rivers. Steps would be taken to put an end to destructive and reckless sand-mining in Bharathapuzha that resulted in destruction of the river and making some of the drinking water projects defunct.
He said the ongoing work of 10 check-dams in the district would be completed soon. Another 10 new check-dams would be constructed with assistance from NABARD.
There was also a proposal to construct 35 new check-dams in the rivers in Palakkad district, Mr. Joseph said. The first phase of the Palakapandi irrigation project tapping the water flowing down from Nelliampathy Hills would be commissioned on September 2.
The Minister said the 2,600 m of old pipe that brings Malampuzha water for drinking water supply in Palakkad municipality would be replaced. The frequent bursting of pipes had affected drinking water supply in Palakkad town, he said.