Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday called upon Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct the Union Water Resources Ministry to delete “objectionable sub-clauses” from the draft Dam Safety Bill 2010.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, she recalled her previous communication, sent in July 2011, in which she had urged him to ensure that certain modifications/additions to the draft Bill were carried out so that interests of the State were protected. Then, it had been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Water Resources.
Ms. Jayalalithaa had then noted that certain provisions of the Bill would directly interfere with the safety and functioning of the dams owned, operated and maintained by a State government, in a situation wherein they were located in another State. The Mullaiperiyar, Parambikulam, Thunakadavu and Peruvaripallam dams are owned, operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu, whereas they were situated in Kerala.
In the event of the Bill being passed in Parliament, it would be detrimental to Tamil Nadu as the control of the dams would automatically go to Kerala. This would create several practical problems for the safety, operation and maintenance of the dams, the Chief Minister had stated.
Ms. Jayalalithaa, in her latest letter, mentioned: “I am told that the Standing Committee on Water Resources and the Ministry of Water Resources have not considered the objection of my government to sub-clauses 26 (1), (2), (3) and (4) and clause 13 of the draft Dam Safety Bill, 2010.
“My government's apprehensions are genuine and if they are not addressed, it would be tantamount to taking away the control over the maintenance of the dam from the State which owns the dam, consequently affecting hundreds of farmers and agricultural production.”