The report of the Empowered Committee, though subject to condtions, was in favour of constructing a new dam to replace the existing one at Mullaperiyar, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said.
The nominee of the State on the committee, K.T. Thomas, had done his best to protect the interests of Kerala. He had expressed the views of Kerala in his dissent note and had listed six reasons for keeping the water level in the reservoir at 136 feet. The only objection was that he had not made any dissent on the finding that the dam was safe, Mr. Chandy said.
The Chief Minister said the finding that the dam was hydrologically and seismically safe could not be believed. “But I hope that it is,” he said.
Mr. Chandy said the government had studied everything relating to the old dam and was convinced that a new dam was needed. The State was willing to meet the expenditure for that as proposed by the committee. Replying to a question, he said Mr. Thomas was the State's nominee on the committee, but he could not be its advocate. Kerala had argued its case well at all levels. The government will argue strongly against raising of the reservoir level before the Supreme Court. The final decision was that of the Supreme Court.
He parried questions about errors of fact in Mr. Thomas' dissent note and apparent contradiction in the former Supreme Court judge's argument that Kerala should get water from Mullaperiyar and the State's stand that the waters could go to Tamil Nadu.
He said the Cabinet had discussed the report of the committee in detail and had found that it favoured a new dam. “It is a green signal for a new dam; though subject to conditions,” he said.
Keywords: Mullaperiyar dam