Mullaperiyar: T.N. moves SC against parking project

NGT had given nod to Kerala to go ahead with its proposal

Published - November 20, 2017 11:33 pm IST - NEW DELHI

A file photo of the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam located in Idukki district.

A file photo of the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam located in Idukki district.

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the decision of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) allowing Kerala to go ahead with a “mega car parking” project in the water spread area of the Mullaperiyar dam.

The Chennai Bench of the tribunal, on November 15, allowed the project in the area around the Periyar Tiger Reserve near the Mullaperiyar dam reservoir.

‘Danger to ecology’

In its special leave petition, Tamil Nadu, represented by advocate G. Umapathy, submitted that the car parking project was located in the area leased to Tamil Nadu. The project, which involves various supplementary construction activities, would environmentally affect the catchment area, the water spread area of the dam and consequently the waters of the reservoir, used for drinking and irrigation purposes by the people of five districts of Tamil Nadu.

Arguing that Kerala has already encroached on about 2.5 acres, and through this project, proposes to take over about 20 acres in the water spread area of the dam for parking the tourist vehicles and construction of reception blocks, cafeteria, sewage treatment plant, eco-shops complex, toilets, dining block, office block, road work, and road work for battery operated vehicle, developing different thematic arboretums, landscaping, etc, intended for tourism and commercial activities.

Pending suit

The tribunal’s green signal comes even as an original suit is pending in court on Tamil Nadu’s plea to restrain Kerala from trespassing into land leased to it. When it declared that no clearance is required to be taken by Kerala under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the tribunal failed to take into consideration that the construction activities would ultimately pollute the water needed for drinking and irrigation in Tamil Nadu, the petition said.

The NGT decision is despite a letter from the National Tiger Conservation Authority on March 21, 2013 that provisions of the Forest Conservation Act and other environmental laws should not be overruled while considering the viability of the project.

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