Empowered Committee had granted extended time: Minister
Kerala would submit its views on the technical experts' report on the Mullaperiyar dam to the Empowered Committee constituted by the Supreme Court within two weeks, Water Resources Minister N. K. Premachandran has said.
Mr. Premachandran told The Hindu over phone on Saturday that the State had sought further time to submit its views and had been granted the same. There was, therefore, no basis for the reports in a section of the media that the State had “failed” in complying with the Empowered Committee's directive, he said.
The State could not possibly respond to the technical experts' queries without examining all the aspects of the issue. Tamil Nadu had submitted two or three bulky volumes of documents as its response to the Empowered Committee's directive and it would have been risky for the State to rush in without adequate homework. Tamil Nadu could respond instantly to the technical experts' assumptions and queries as the State was the custodian of the dam and, therefore, in possession of all the relevant technical data, he pointed out.
The Empowered Committee, he said, had sought data and information from the 1960s. The team constituted by the State government to present Kerala's case before the Empowered Committee was working to gather all relevant information so that the State's contentions before the committee were flawless, he said.
The Empowered Committee had deputed the technical team to inspect the dam and report back to it.
Though the State has been cooperating with the work of the five-member team currently engaged in the assessment of the dam, it has registered its objections to the core sample site locations identified for inspection by the team. The State's stand is that the deeper portions of the dam should also be chosen for inspection in view of the fact that some repair and strengthening work had been taken up in the 1980s in portions of the 115-year-old ‘surkee' dam.
The technical team had visited the dam on Saturday and inspected it using sophisticated equipment, including waterproof silicon cameras. According to reports, the committee had marked spots at every 100 feet all along the 1,200-foot-long dam before diving down to inspect it on Friday. They also took photographs of the dam bed, covered with clay and rocks, the reports say.
The Empowered Committee would meet on February 17 and 18 to hear the views of Kerala and Tamil Nadu on the long-pending dispute between the two States.