Tamil Nadu

TN opposes nod for study on new dam

The Supreme Court’s Empowered Committee found that the dam was “hydrologically, structurally and seismically safe.”

The Supreme Court’s Empowered Committee found that the dam was “hydrologically, structurally and seismically safe.”  

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Four months after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) granted clearance to Kerala for a study on the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Saturday termed it as case of “violation of judgments” of the Supreme Court on the dam issue “in letter and spirit.”

NBWL meeting

The Standing Committee for National Board for Wildlife (NBWL), in its 31 meeting on August 12 and 13, recommended the Kerala government’s proposal for conducting an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study for a new dam within 10-km radius of the project site in the Periyar Tiger Reserve.

Stating that it was only an EIA study, the standing committee gave the clearance, but clearly told Kerala that carrying out the study should not be construed as recommendation for diversion.

Besides, the committee asked the government to comply with all conditions stipulated by the State Board for Wildlife and the Chief Wildlife Warden.

The ruling AIADMK and the State bureaucracy, however, seem to have completely missed out on this development despite the controversial nature of the issue.

Exactly four months later, Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the Ministry to have the clearance withdrawn.

Reacting to information available on the MoEF website, the Chief Minister, in his letter to Mr. Modi, explained how a five-member Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, in its judgment in May had “categorically held” that the Kerala government was prohibited from building a new dam.

SC panel report

It relied on the report of the Supreme Court’s Empowered Committee, which concluded that the existing dam was found safe and the proposal to build a new dam “requires reconsideration” by the Kerala government.

The SC Committee had also found that the Mullaperiyar dam was “hydrologically, structurally and seismically safe” to raise the water level to 142 ft. initially.

Court judgment

He also referred to the court’s judgment in February 2006 to substantiate the points regarding the validity of the lease deed of 1886 and structural safety of the dam.

Accusing the Kerala government of “not revealing the entire facts” while obtaining the permission, the Chief Minister pointed out that the matter had reached finality and the Supreme Court had even dismissed the review petition of Kerala.

Any request from the Kerala government to the Union Ministries of Water Resources and Environment and Forests on the construction of a new dam on Mullaperiyar should not be acted upon by any agency of the Union government, the Chief Minister urged.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 3:50:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/tn-opposes-nod-for-study-on-new-dam/article6689847.ece

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