Kerala, Tamil Nadu take divergent stand on new Mullaperiyar dam

Kerala favours independent panel for water regulation, Tamil Nadu is against new dam itself

Updated - November 17, 2021 12:14 am IST

Published - January 07, 2012 01:51 am IST - NEW DELHI:

Kerala has maintained that it is agreeable to the constitution of an independent committee, with representatives of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu and the Union of India, for regulation of the waters of a new Mullaperiyar dam.

Kerala made this response to the Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee's January 2 oral directive to both States to indicate their stand on the question of constituting an “independent committee” for the purpose.

But Tamil Nadu rejected this proposal, arguing that the question of building a new dam, let alone regulation of its waters, would not arise at all, as the existing dam was safe.

Operation and maintenance

Kerala said the Empowered Committee had asked the two States: “Who would have the control of the new dam and be responsible for its operation and maintenance, i.e., the State of Tamil Nadu or the State of Kerala?”

Kerala said that in its written submission dated October 27, 2010 it had stated that the ownership, operation and maintenance of a new dam should vest with it. But the regulation of waters from a new dam would be handled by a joint committee of engineers of both the States as was being done in the Parabmikulam Aliyar Project and the Sirvuani Drinking Water Scheme.

Prevailing practice

“The joint committee proposed is in consonance with the prevailing practice under the Parabmikulam Aliyar Project and the Siruvani Drinking Water Scheme. In the inter-State Parabmikulam Aliyar Project, the waters of the Chalakudy, Bharatapuzha and Periyar rivers are inter alia diverted from Kerala to Tamil Nadu. The works are constructed by both States. The regulation of waters is [done] by a Joint Water Regulation Board.”

Independent committee

In the case of the Siruvani scheme, “the waters of the Siruvani river are diverted from Kerala to Tamil Nadu. The Siruvani dam located in Kerala was constructed by the State by employing the funds of … Tamil Nadu. However, in response to the further question posed by this Empowered Committee on January 2, i.e., constitution of an independent committee for the regulation of waters of a new dam proposed, the State of Kerala submits that it is agreeable to the constitution of an independent committee — of which the representatives of both the States and the Union of India are made part.”

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