Special Correspondent

To help Government protect the State's interests

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The two United Democratic Front (UDF) nominees in the Dam Safety Authority have resigned from their posts as members in order to facilitate the Government to take effective action to protect Kerala's interests in the Mullaperiyar issue.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Tuesday, the former Water Resources Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said that he had sent the resignation letters of Thomas Mathew and Chakkanad Rajendranath to Chief Minister V. S. Achuthanandan and Water Resources Minister N. K. Premachandran. He said the two members had resigned as per the directions of the Chief Minister and the Water Resources Minister. The UDF did not want a controversy on a crucial issue such as Mullaperiyar as it did not view the matter as a dispute between the ruling and Opposition coalitions. The attempts to challenge the validity of the amended law should be fought unitedly, he said.

The former Minister said the UDF felt it should rise to the occasion to protect the State's interest. He wanted the State Government to exercise its powers under the amended Irrigation and Water Conservation Act under sections 57, 58, 62 (a), 62 (b) and 68. The Act has provisions to include dams that are above 40 years and decommission them if necessary.

In his letter to the Chief Minister informing him about the resignations, Mr. Radhakrishnan said the State Government should protect the amended law at all costs. The law had declared 22 old dams as scheduled dams.

The Supreme Court had rejected the State Government's review petition against the court's verdict on the raising of the dam's height from 132 feet to 146 feet.

Mr. Radhakrishnan said the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam was a cause of concern to the 45-lakh people living in Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alappuzha.