It will move Ministry of Environment and Forests at an appropriate time after preparation of detailed project report
Kerala is fully committed to constructing a new dam to replace the existing structure across the Mullaperiyar, which is facing the risk of failure, the State has informed the Supreme Court.
In response to an application filed by Tamil Nadu in the Mullaperiyar case to restrain Kerala from proceeding with the construction of the new dam, the State denied that it was acting in a manner that was violative of the Constitution and affecting the inter-State relations and interfering with the judicial process.
A five-judge Constitution Bench, comprising Justices D.K. Jain, B. Sudershan Reddy, Mukundakam Sharma, R.M. Lodha and Deepak Verma, posted the matter for further hearing after six weeks to enable Tamil Nadu to file rejoinder to Kerala's reply.
On the Governor's address in the Assembly made on February 4 about the construction of a new dam, the State said, “It is to be understood as an offer and expression of hope that the construction will begin.”
The counter said: “The State of Kerala is committed to the offer of construction of a new dam and its offer is pending consideration before the Empowered Committee for its decision. The State will move the Ministry of Environment and Forests at an appropriate time after the preparation of the detailed project report. Hence, the apprehensions of Tamil Nadu have no foundation.”
Kerala said that it had no objection to Tamil Nadu clearing the debris in the dam.
“However, it appears that the Tamil Nadu government is planning to deepen the canal, which requires the consent of Kerala.”
On the plea for putting up gates, it said that the officials of the Government of Kerala, being the lessor, had all rights and powers to visit the dam for the purpose of assessing the safety etc. and if gates were provided on the dam premises, such free access was likely to be denied.
On Tamil Nadu's plea for relaying of the wearing coat on top of the dam, Kerala said that the Empowered Committee had directed several investigations to be conducted on the dam and they were in progress.
“In these circumstances, the provision of wearing coat over the walkway of the dam will impede the investigations.”