Kerala politicians led by Chief Minister Ommen Chandy on Wednesday knocked the doors of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking his immediate intervention in persuading Tamil Nadu to settle the Mullaperiyar dam issue.
An all-party delegation from the state met Singh and urged him to initiate a dialogue between Kerala and Tamil Nadu for arriving at an amicable settlement as early as possible, in view of the "current sense" of anxiety and fear among Keralites. In a memorandum submitted to Singh, the delegation said no responsible government or party can afford to remain a silent spectator when people are living in constant fear of death and destruction.
"Kerala has offered to construct a new dam at our cost which will ensure the same quantity of water for Tamil Nadu as they now receive. But government of Tamil Nadu has turned a deaf ear to this unambiguous proposal," it said.
The delegation told the prime minister that there have been more than 26 tremors in the dam area since July this year, with the highest recorded magnitude being 3.8 on Richter Scale. "Along with this continued unprecedented seismic activity, the water level in the reservoir has gone above 136 feet for the past several days. These two factors have intensified the possibilities of imminent danger and have raised fear and panic among people to alarming proportions. "It is unfortunate that this anxiety and fear is being dismissed as overreaction," the delegation said.
The delegation told Singh that both the states share a symbiotic and mutually cooperative relationship with each other that has stood the test of time and cited the dam itself an example of this "excellent" relationship. "The government of Tamil Nadu may be persuaded to appreciate the genuine safety concerns of Kerala," they said noting that in 1979, both the states had inspected and agreed upon a site for a new dam.
"A new dam alone will address the twin objectives of 'safety for Kerala and water for Tamil Nadu'," they said. The delegation also asked prime minister to persuade Tamil Nadu to take all possible action to ensure that not more than 120 feet of water is kept in the reservoir of the existing dam. "This is not a water dispute. The issue is safety of people of Kerala. Construction of a new dam is the only lasting solution to this problem and Kerala is committed to supply the same quantity of water to Tamil Nadu," the delegation said.