Staff Reporter

Central nod for lowering dam’s shutters

Increasing the dam’s storage vital for city

Premachandran raises issues with Union Minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor has promised to do all he can to put pressure on the Centre so that the State gets the necessary sanction to lower the shutters of the Peppara dam.

This promise was given by Mr. Tharoor at a meeting with Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran at the latter’s residence, here, on Saturday.

The meeting was convened to solicit the Union Minister’s intervention for procuring sanction from Central agencies and the Central government for various drinking water schemes being implemented in the State.

Mr. Premachandran pointed out at the meeting that the Aruvikkara dam and the Peppara dam upstream were the only sources of drinking water for the capital city and adjoining areas.

Wildlife Act

The Peppara dam was built before the national wildlife Act came into force. The argument of the State government is that the dam, therefore, should be exempt from the provisions / restrictions of the said Act.

Increasing the dam’s storage capacity by lowering its shutters is vital for the long-term drinking water security of the capital city, Mr. Premachandran said.

“The response of the Union Minister was very positive,” Mr. Premachandran told The Hindu.

“He appeared to be convinced of our case. Now that we are confident of his help, we will forward another application to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The application has to be routed through the Chief Wildlife Conservator of the State. We were holding back the application because the ones we sent earlier had been rejected.”

Mr. Premachandran said another important issue that was discussed at the meeting was the Central sanction to lay drinking water pipelines beneath railway tracks at 22 locations in the State.

Even though the State had made requests to the Centre, there had been no developments on this front, he said.

Expertise sought

Mr. Tharoor said at the meeting that the expertise of the Kerala Water Authority should be made available for the smooth operations of drinking water schemes handed over to local bodies and to strengthen water supply schemes in coastal areas.

Mr. Premachandran said the KWA would take positive steps in this direction.

Kalippara scheme

Both Ministers agreed that the Kalippara scheme near Thiruvananthapuram should be implemented as soon as possible.

Mr. Premachandran told Mr. Tharoor that though the Kalippara scheme had been submitted to NABARD for funding last year it was not approved.

This year, the government had given administrative sanction of Rs.120 crore for this scheme under a scheme to tackle the economic slowdown. Mayor C. Jayan Babu, Surendran Pillai, MLA, and officials of the Irrigation Department and the KWA participated in the meeting.