Union Minister for Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal on Tuesday clearly told Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy in New Delhi that the Centre would try to mediate and convene a bilateral meeting between governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu if Kerala gave a written assurance that it would continue to supply the quantum of water presently being given from Mullaperiyar dam to Tamil Nadu and also construct the new dam from its own funds.
If the Kerala government was willing to give such a written assurance, then the Centre would try to mediate and convene a meeting as the Tamil Nadu government had been opposing the construction of a new dam by Kerala in the place of the existing 116-year old reservoir.
Mr. Bansal said this when Mr. Chandy led a team of his ministers to him to discuss various irrigation projects of Kerala including the Mullaperiyar issue.
The team, which met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday, referred to a tremor in the dam site, in the Idukki district, bordering Tamil Nadu, on Saturday and claimed that it had caused some cracks/leakage in the reservoir. The PM agreed with the need to provide safety for all the citizens and early settlement of the row between the two States which was pending in the Supreme Court, the CM had claimed.
Stressing on Kerala’s point that there was no alternative except construction of a new dam in Mullai Periyar, Mr. Chandy told journalists here “Our stand is very clear. We want a new dam. We want to ensure the safety of our people.”
Referring to Tamil Nadu’s opposition for the new dam, he said: “We are not against Tamil Nadu's interest. We are ready to give them water”.
Kerala was always willing to alleviate apprehension of Tamil Nadu on the issue.
Mr. Chandy said the present dam site came under a earth quake prone area and due to Saturday’s tremor, which was the second one in the recent days, leakages were found in the reservoir and a team led by State Revenue Minister T. Radhakrishnan and consisted of experts and the deputy leader of the opposition in the Assembly visited the area and their report was under preparation. Based on their report the cabinet would decide on what sort of action to be taken as the matter was also pending in the Supreme Court, he said.