“Application filed by Kerala in this regard was incorrect”

The five-member Empowered Committee (EC) constituted to go into the safety of the Mullaperiyar which met here on Thursday rejected Kerala's charge that a coordination committee had been formed or that any advisory role had been assigned to the Central Water Commission.

The committee comprising former Chief Justice of India Justice A.S. Anand; Justice K.T. Thomas, retired Supreme Court Judge representing Kerala; Justice A.R. Lakshmanan, retired Supreme Court Judge representing Tamil Nadu; former Secretary to the Ministry of Water Resources C.D. Thatte and retired Chief Engineer, Central Water Commission, D.K. Mehta said that the application filed by Kerala in this regard was incorrect.

Kerala had said that a Coordination Committee had been set up to assist the Empowered Committee, “which is chaired by a representative from the CWC and Central Water and Power Research Station (CWPRS).”

“The EC would like to clarify that no co-ordination committee has been appointed by the EC or even by the CWC. The co-ordination committee appears to be totally the creation of the CSMRS/CWPRS for co-ordinating the work of the investigation teams and is an internal matter of theirs to properly conduct the assigned tasks.”

The order said “the EC wishes to emphasise that the report which it has to submit to the Supreme Court has to be its independent opinion after taking into consideration the respective stands of the Governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, their counsel as well as the results of investigation carried out by technical experts like CSMRS and CWPRS and other technical bodies. The data shall be scanned by the EC for formulating its opinion. The Supreme Court has left it to the EC to take any expert evidence or technical data as it considers appropriate.”

The order said “the accusation by Government of Kerala in its letter of February 5 that the EC has not been fair in nominating the State representatives on its committee, to say the least, is wholly baseless and is unacceptable. If the Government of Kerala feels its representatives nominated on any committee by EC needs to be replaced by some other officer, it should so state clearly so that the EC is able to replace the officer. The EC notes it with concern that lot of misrepresentation is being given to the media by the State functionaries about the EC. That is improper. “

The EC said “it expects both the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to have faith in their team of able lawyers appearing before the EC to raise their concerns rather than to unilaterally write to the EC directly on matters under its consideration.”

So far as the association of A.K. Ganju in co-ordination committee is concerned, the EC wishes to point out that he has written to the Chairman that on account of his transfer to Ganga Flood Control Commissions at Patna, he is not able to chair the committee and his further association in the committee, is therefore a non issue.

The role of Ghosh is limited to collect and compile technical details. The EC does not therefore consider it necessary to review his appointment, the order said. Arguments on the issues will continue on Friday.