Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 3 (IANS) Describing his visit to Delhi as a ‘success’, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Saturday said there was possibility of an early official level discussion with Tamil Nadu to find a solution on the vexed Mullaperiyar Dam issue.
‘The outcome of my visit to Delhi is successful because those in Delhi have agreed and have realised that the concerns raised by us are genuine,’ said Chandy.
Chandy met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the capital and sought his help to find a solution to replace the 115-year-old Mullaperiyar earthen dam located in Idukki district. as it is already leaking and poses danger to the people.
‘I had a meeting with journalists of Tamil Nadu who work in Delhi and it was meant to know what their concerns are and it was a really good exercise,’ said Chandy, on landing in Kerala.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj. While it is located in Kerala, its waters serve Tamil Nadu.
Tamil Nadu wants the dam’s storage capacity to be increased by raising the dam height from 136 feet (41.5 metre) to 142 feet (43 metre) as the state’s irrigation needs have shot up.
On the other hand, Kerala is worried that a strong earthquake might damage the dam and cause widespread destruction. It is seeking a new dam and has offered to fund and build it, but Tamil Nadu does not agree.
Experts say if a quake strikes the dam and it is damaged, people and property in districts of Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and parts of Thrissur would be washed away.
State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph is currently in Delhi and is taking steps to file a petition in the Supreme Court to allow reduction of the dam’s water level to 120 feet.
Meanwhile, cutting across political lines, a strong demand has risen that advocate general K.P. Dandapani be immediately ousted. Apparently, while appearing for the state government at the Kerala High Court Friday, he said there was no relation between water level and the safety of the dam.
State Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who also holds charge of disaster management, said there was an error on part of the advocate general.