Asks Manmohan to advise CWC not to accord technical clearance

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the Kerala government from proceeding with the Attapadi Irrigation Scheme or any other scheme on the river Siruvani in violation of the Cauvery Tribunal’s final order.

Ms. Jayalalithaa also requested the Prime Minister to advise the Central Water Commission not to accord technical clearance for Kerala’s proposal for building the dam across the Siruvani.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday, Ms. Jayalalithaa stated that there were disconcerting reports in the media about the Kerala government’s plan to build a dam across the Siruvani at Attapadi. “It appears that Kerala has planned to build a dam of 4.5 TMCft capacity on the river for the Attapadi Irrigation Scheme. This has caused concern among people as inflows into Bhavani river will be considerably reduced.”

Further, there was widespread apprehension among people that Coimbatore city and its adjoining areas, dependent on the Siruvani water for drinking water needs, would be totally affected if such a dam was built.

The Kerala government had agitated this issue before the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, claiming 4.5 TMCft of water for the irrigation scheme. The Tamil Nadu government objected to the claim and the tribunal, in its final order in February 2007, allocated only 2.87 TMC ft of water to Kerala for this particular scheme. “Therefore, the present proposal of Kerala is in violation of the final order of the tribunal.”

Now, the petitions of Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu on the tribunal’s final order were pending before the Supreme Court and it was only proper for the party states to await either the notification of the final order or the judicial decisions before initiating any new scheme in the Cauvery basin or in its sub-basins.

Centre should intervene: Karunanidhi

DMK president M. Karunanidhi, in reply to a question on the issue, said that the Centre should intervene and find a proper solution. The Kerala government was behaving badly and mischievously in water related disputes. “How much can we tolerate?”

CPI (M) State secretary G. Ramakrishnan, in a statement, condemned the Kerala government’s attempt to construct the dam across the Siruvani, 22 km from the Tamil Nadu border.

An attempt was made in the early 1980s but it was subsequently dropped. Now, Kerala Pradesh Congress president Ramesh Chennithala had visited the site and recommended the construction of a check dam. This would gravely affect the drinking water source of Coimbatore and Tirupur districts.