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Kerala will not politicise dam issue: Premachandran

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N.K. Premachandran says Tamil Nadu’s worry about the survey is unjustifiable.
N.K. Premachandran says Tamil Nadu’s worry about the survey is unjustifiable.

Staff Reporter

Tamil Nadu writes to Centre on proposed survey

KOCHI: Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran has said that Kerala does not want to politicise the proposed survey for a new dam across the Mullaperiyar.

Speaking to reporters here on Tuesday, he said Tamil Nadu was unjustifiably worried about the Central government granting permission to Kerala to conduct the survey. The permission was only statutory in nature and several formalities had to be completed before the State could build a new dam.

Mr. Premachandran described Tamil Nadu’s reaction to the Central nod as ‘unfortunate and without logic.’ He said Tamil Nadu was not a party to the survey. It was all about a dam that could be built in Kerala’s own territory. The State had the authority to build a dam in its own territory, he asserted.

The State needed to get clearance from the Union Environment and Forests Ministry under the wildlife Act before it could conduct such a survey, he said.

Tamil Nadu stance

Special Correspondent writes from Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday formally took up with the Centre the Mullaperiyar dam survey issue, with Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Chief Secretary K.S. Sripathi writing to Union Minister of State and Secretary for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh and Vijai Sharma respectively.

A senior government official said the Chief Minister, in his letter, mentioned that the matter was sub judice. Tamil Nadu should be consulted before giving any clearance for a survey to be undertaken for a new dam.

Mr. Sripathi’s communication was also on the same lines, the official said.

The Tamil Nadu government had got a copy of the agenda notes for the meeting of the Standing Committee on Wildlife last week. One of the items was titled as survey for a new dam at Mullaperiyar, the official added.

Karunanidhi’s response

In a statement referring to news reports that were attributed to Mr. Premachandran and Mr. Ramesh, Mr. Karunanidhi had said on Monday that there was no need to confuse oneself till a settlement emerged in the Supreme Court, where the matter was pending. The Chief Minister recalled that he had issued a statement on the issue a few days ago.

Jayalalithaa

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) general secretary Jayalalithaa contended that the Kerala and Central governments knew that Mr. Karunanidhi was infirm in safeguarding the interests of Tamils. This was why the Kerala government, with the help of the Centre, had drafted a proposal to construct a new dam, she said.

She accused Mr. Karunanidhi of having failed in the effective implementation of the 2006 Supreme Court order allowing the water level of the dam to be raised from the present 136 ft to 142 ft. The issue would have been over long back had the case filed in the court by the AIADMK regime against the amendment to the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act been expedited and the order implemented with the Centre’s help.

Ms. Jayalalithaa also criticised Mr. Karunanidhi for his statement on Saturday and said that it was condemnable. While being the Chief Minister of a State, it was condemnable for him to issue a statement that he believed that the Centre would have not given permission, she said.

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