Likely to prejudice interests of Tamil Nadu

The Tamil Nadu government has taken exception to the Kerala government's statement that it had prepared a detailed project report for construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar and that the work would start this year.

Fresh affidavit

In a fresh affidavit filed before the empowered committee headed by former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand, the Tamil Nadu government referred to the Kerala Governor's address to the State Assembly on February 3 and said that such a statement from Kerala was likely to prejudice the interests of Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu said the Supreme Court had already framed issues in its suit including whether the offer of Kerala to construct a new dam across the Periyar river in the downstream of the Mullaperiyar dam would meet the ends of justice and requirements of Tamil Nadu, and the empowered committee had sought the views of the parties on this issue.

On Kerala's objection to appointing A.K. Ganju, Member of the Central Water Commission, as Chairman of the Coordination Committee to assist the panel headed by Mr. Anand, Tamil Nadu said the Centre had not given any assurance in the Supreme Court that no official associated with the CWC would be appointed to the committee.

Statements made by responsible persons from Kerala voicing their objections to the committee or about the construction of a new dam would not only cause prejudice to the interests of Tamil Nadu but also interfere with the course of justice, Tamil Nadu said.

In its application, Kerala sought a direction for the removal of Mr. Ganju as Chairman of the Coordination Committee on the ground that he was a member of the expert committee constituted by the then Union Minister for Water Resources in 2000 to study the risk associated with the safety of the dam. The expert committee gave a report in March 2001 holding that the “Mullaperiyar dam is safe for storage up to 142 ft and eventually 152 ft. The association of Mr. Ganju as a member and Chairman of the Coordination Committee is contradictory to the principles of natural justice.''

“Reconsider appointment”

Kerala also wanted the panel to reconsider the appointment of S. Gosh as Director (Technical) of the empowered committee as he was also associated with the CWC.