Former Supreme Court judge K.T. Thomas will represent Kerala on the expert panel constituted by the Supreme Court to handle the Mullaperiyar dam row between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran told The Hindu here on Wednesday that in keeping with the procedure in such matters, the government formally communicated Mr. Thomas' name to the panel chairman A.S. Anand, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and received a positive reply. The matter was then placed before the Cabinet and approved. The State would now forward the name to the Centre for the formal notification.

Alignment

Alignment for a new dam at Mullaperiyar has been finalised and a detailed project report is being prepared, Mr. Premachandran informed the Assembly.

Replying to questions, he said the dam site had not been finalised. Studies being conducted by the Geological Survey of India and the Centre for Earth Science Studies were progressing.

He said the State was keen on providing water to Tamil Nadu from the Mullaperiyar and ensuring the safety of people in Kerala. A disaster management action plan had been drawn up to meet any exigency. Talks were being held with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati for conducting a dam-break analysis. He said the government was willing to evolve a consensus with Tamil Nadu on the dam issue. Since the issue was now before a five-member committee, appointed by the Supreme Court, the government could not make a unilateral move.

It would try to clear the wrong notion that Kerala was against sharing of water with Tamil Nadu.