A day after Tamil Nadu claimed the ownership of four dams located in Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy sought to dismiss it as baseless and asserted the State’s right of ownership over the contentious dams.
‘‘All the four dams, Mullaperiyar, Parambikulam, Peruvaripallam, and Thunakadavu, constructed on a cost-sharing basis between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, are located in and owned by Kerala but are operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu,’’ the Chief Minister told media persons here on Sunday.
The National Register of Large Dams had clearly listed these dams under Kerala’s ownership and this itself had closed the possibility of an ownership dispute, he said.
While terming the ongoing controversy over these dams as ‘‘unwarranted,’’ Mr. Chandy said that Kerala was committed to honour the water sharing pact between the two States. ‘
‘This, however, does not mean that we are relinquishing our rights over these dams,’’ he said, adding that the Fourth Schedule of the agreement limited Tamil Nadu’s role to its maintenance and operation. Further, he pointed out that Kerala was the sole authority to maintain the law and order of the areas where these dams were located, in addition to issuing licences permitting tourism, fisheries, and related activities in these dams.
According to him, the dams were constructed and maintained on a cost-sharing basis of 61:5 by which Tamil Nadu expends 61 paisa against every 5 paisa from its counterpart. Besides, Kerala is also entitled to receive specific quantity of water from these dams in every water year.
Earlier on Saturday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had stated that the National Dam Safety Committee in December 2013 had accepted Tamil Nadu’s claim of ownership over the four dams and would include it in the National Register of Large Dams after receiving similar demands from other States.Stranded Keralites
Regarding the efforts to rescue Keralites stranded in Iraq, Mr. Chandy said the State government was in constant touch with the Indian Embassy in Iraq as well as with the Union Ministry of External Affairs.