Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph has asked national parties such as the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to make their stance clear on the State's demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar.
Mr. Joseph told reporters here on Friday that the Centre should intervene immediately to save the life of 30 lakh people who lived under the threat of a dam breach. If the situation warrants it, he is willing to quit office to save the life of the people. He is willing to go on fast to invoke the conscience of the people of Tamil Nadu. Since leaders of the national parties in the two States have adopted different stance on the issue, their Central leaderships should clarify their position. It is not an issue affecting Kerala alone. It should be discussed in Parliament. The Dam Safety Authority should implead itself in the case pending before the Supreme Court. Political parties and MLAs in Tamil Nadu should reconsider their stance. He and Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan will go to New Delhi to apprise the Centre of the situation, Mr. Joseph said.
If the Mullaperiyar dam overflows, it will destroy the dams at Idukki, Cheruthoni, and Kulamavu and 30 lakh people will be wiped off. Any damage to the dam will also affect the farming activities in Theni, Madurai, Dindugal, Sivaganga, and Ramanathapuram districts in Tamil Nadu. The State government is ready for any mediation and willing to bear the cost of constructing a new dam. The fears expressed by the Tamil Nadu government that if the control of the new dam vests with Kerala, it will affect the sharing of water are baseless. All political parties have clarified that the State will honour its commitment to share water with Tamil Nadu. The State has never retracted from its commitment to route water from the Siruvani river to Coimbatore, the Minister said.
An impartial assessment of the dam is needed to find out the real situation. It was the Central Water Commission which said in 1979 that the dam was unsafe and marked a spot 1,300 feet below it to construct a new dam. After July 26, as many as 26 tremors rocked the region. A report of the Roorkee IIT has cited the danger. Another tremor gauging 6 on the Richter scale will be really dangerous, he said.