With tension building up on the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border over the Mullaperiyar dam issue, the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday the applications filed by Tamil Nadu for deployment of Central Industrial Security Forces for the protection of the dam and to restrain Ministers in Kerala from making provocative statements.
A five-Judge Constitution Bench comprising Justice D.K. Jain, Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Deepak Verma, Justice C.K. Prasad and Justice Anil R. Dave will also hear an application filed by Kerala to reduce the level in the dam from 136 ft to 120 ft.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary K. Anbazhagan also filed an intervening application opposing Kerala's application.
All the applications are to be heard in the pending suit filed by Tamil Nadu questioning the law enacted by Kerala in 2006 fixing the level of the dam at 136 ft.
Apprehending danger to the dam from miscreants, Tamil Nadu has sought a direction to the Centre to deploy the CISF immediately at the dam site.
It said, “The Chief Minister of Kerala Oomen Chandy, other Ministers and its officials have been repeatedly going to the press during the past few days and making various statements on the issues, which are pending consideration and are reported to have stated that the construction of a new dam is the only solution and that the existing dam would be decommissioned.”
Tamil Nadu said because of these statements a mob indulged in vandalism at the dam site and such incidents were likely to escalate, warranting deployment of independent forces from the CISF. In another application, Tamil Nadu brought to the court notice that Mr. Chandy, other Ministers and officials by their statements were creating a fear psychosis among the people about the dam's safety. It sought to restrain Kerala, its Ministers and officials from issuing any statements about de-commissioning of the existing dam or construction of a new dam. Tamil Nadu maintained that the reported tremors “are negligible and in any event were below 3.5 on the Richter scale and the dam was safe.”
Kerala prayed for a direction to the Tamil Nadu government to reduce the level from 136 ft to 120 ft. It said the 25 earthquakes or tremors in the vicinity of the dam recently had threatened its safety, causing serious concern to 50 lakh people living in the downstream region.
In its application, the DMK said the resolution passed by the Kerala Assembly for reducing the level from 136 ft to 120 ft was most inappropriate, apart from offending the Rule of Law and doctrine of separation of powers.