Says consensus on Mullaperiyar desirable
The State government is open for talks with Tamil Nadu on the Mullaperiyar issue though it is pending in the Supreme Court, Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph has said.
Replying to questions in the Assembly on Friday, Mr. Joseph said the government was keen on evolving a consensus on the issue. The government was committed to the motto, water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala. The government had submitted a detailed project report to construct a dam to the empowered committee appointed by the Supreme Court. The four-part report detailed the instability of the existing dam, the need for a new dam, a blueprint of the proposed dam, estimates, and also the studies conducted with regard to building a new dam.
The committee had not heard the views of Kerala regarding the safety of the dam based on the findings of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Delhi and Rourkee. The committee went by the studies conducted by the Anna University.
Steps were being taken to form a special purpose vehicle for the construction.
A sum of Rs.50 crore had been allocated for the purpose.
The new dam can be completed in less than two years. According to a dam-break analysis conducted by the IIT Rourkee, in the event of a damage, 8,941 houses located between the Mullaperiyar and Idukki dams would be under water.
About 32,503 persons will have to be evacuated from the locality.
Another study of the IIT had said that the dam was located in a seismically unsafe zone.
The government was confident of presenting its views with substantial evidence during the July 23 hearing, he said.
Health Minister Adoor Prakash said the government would set up geriatric clinics in government hospitals.
Geriatric wards would be set up in all the 14 district hospitals. Women and Children hospitals would be opened in more districts.
Labour Minister Shibu Baby John said minimum wages had been fixed for domestic workers.
A welfare scheme had been launched through the Labour Welfare Fund Board.
Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said religious and Left fundamentalist forces were trying to become active in the State.
They were functioning in other names.
The CPI(Maoist), the Revolutionary People’s Front, Adivasi Vimochana Munnani, Revolutionary Democratic Front, CPI(ML) Naxalbari, Porattom, and the CPI(ML) Red Flag were some of them. Former activists of SIMI were functioning as Minority Rights Watch, he said.