NATIONAL

Protest over Mullaperiyar dam issue continues

: Even as two-member technical team from Pune is intensifying drilling work to collect sample of construction materials to confirm the strength of the Mullaperiyar dam, protests rallies and demonstrations against Kerala government and in support of the dam issue has been continuing as usual in the district on Thursday.

Around 500 members of Federation of Marvar Associations took out a rally on Theni-Madurai Highway and staged demonstration on Sri Bagavathi Amman Temple ground in the town this morning.

Around 500 lawyers in five districts too took out a rally which started from Bommayagoundenpatti village on Theni-Dindigul highway and ended at State Bank of India main branch in the town. They also staged demonstration raising slogans against Kerala and demanded for an increase in the storage level.

In the meanwhile, farmers in the Cumbum valley expressed grave concern over drilling of the dam. Earlier, many experts came and drilled various places and collected samples.

But the Kerala officials refused to allow the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department Engineers to fill the holes or cavities owing to removal samples with cement liquid or concrete materials. Leaving deep holes in the middle of the dam might weaken the dam in the long run, they worried.

They hoped that the team would grant permission for the Tamil Nadu PWD to do the patch work and plug the holes after collecting samples. Even as the team took all measures like controlled drilling without making much vibrations realising that frequent vibrations would weaken the dam, farmers and people in in Cumbum, Goodalur, Uthamapalayam, Chinnamanur and Veerapandi were much upset over the drilling. Already, the Kerala Government refused to allow the Tamil Nadu PWD to undertake even maintenance work and transport construction materials to the dam.

On seeing the partly completed work on baby dam, the special technical panel constituted by Supreme Court, during the visit to the dam recently, flayed the Tamil Nadu PWD team for not maintaining the dam properly. When the Tamil Nadu engineers informed that they were prevented by Kerala officials even from undertaking maintenance work, the highly-irritated team members shouted at the Chief Engineer of Irrigation Department and criticised their protests and refusal.