Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph said the State would expedite steps to draw its share of water under the Kaveri Tribunal Award from the east-flowing rivers Pampar, Bhavani and Kabini.
Replying to the discussion on the demands for Budget grants for his department, the Minister said the tribunal had awarded 3 tmc of water from Pampar, 6.07 tmc of water from Bhavani and 21 tmc of water from Kabani. The State was yet to take the benefit of the award.
The construction of a dam each at Thalayar and Chengalar in Idukki district across the Pampar river would commence this year itself. These dams would help irrigate large tracts of land in Marayur (a rain-shadow region), Kanthallur and Vattavila.
“The Pampar project does not have any obstacles. Regarding the dam proposed to be built in Bhavani Basin, there are some misplaced concerns in Tamil Nadu. But the misconceptions are disappearing. The dam in Bhavani Basin will be located downstream the Siruvani dam, storing water for diversion to Coimbatore and nearby places in Tamil Nadu, is located.
“So Tamil Nadu will continue to receive the entire quantity of water it is now receiving from there, even if Kerala builds a new dam. The Attappadi Irrigation Project [for which a dam is being constructed] will be a great boon to the tribal communities in Attappadi,” he said.
Referring to the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Mr. Joseph said Kerala would fight the dispute with Tamil Nadu in the Supreme Court. Kerala could not accept the report of the Empowered Committee appointed by the Supreme Court holding that the dam was in good condition. The committee had also noted in its report that none could rule out the danger from the old dam in unusual circumstances.