Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday said he did not believe that the Union government would have given permission to the Kerala government for carrying out a survey to construct a new dam in the place of Mullaperiyar dam.

Pointing out that Union government knew well that a case was pending before the Supreme Court on the dam issue, Mr Karunanidhi, in a statement, said no formal letter or communication came from the Centre that the permission was given to the Kerala government for undertaking the survey. “But, some persons hailing from Kerala are spreading a report that the Centre had given clearance. Some dailies are blowing it out of proportion.”

He added that on the basis of unconfirmed reports in the press, some parties had announced agitations.

[On Thursday, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh told reporters in New Delhi that Kerala had been allowed to conduct only a ‘limited survey’ of the Mullaperiyar dam under the Forest Conservation Act subject to certain strict safeguards. He also said that the Water Resources Department had sought permission for the survey. It was given on the assurance that no harm would be done to the Periyar Tiger Reserve. The permission, given under the Forest Conservation Act, did not mean environmental clearance for raising the height of the dam, for which the State government had to follow a different prescribed procedure and come back to the Environment and Forests Ministry, Mr Jairam Ramesh said]

Regarding reports that people of over 10 villages were carrying on protest programmes against the move to acquire their land for expansion of State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu (SIPCOT) industrial complex in Perundurai of Erode district, Mr Karunanidhi said he advised Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, who handled the portfolio of industry, to look into the matter. Already, the people had met Mr Stalin, who assured them that their plea would be considered.

On the delay in the progress of the Sethusamudram project, the Chief Minister referred to the statement of Union Minister for Shipping G.K. Vasan who had said that the Pachauri committee would shortly submit to the Supreme Court its report on the environmental impact of the project. Mr Karunanidhi expressed the hope that as expected by Mr Vasan and the country, the project would be completed soon.