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Won't give up Mullaperiyar dam, resolves TN assembly

Last updated on: December 15, 2011 17:13 IST
The Tamil Nadu assembly on Thursday passed a unanimous resolution stating that under no circumstances would the state give up its rights over the Mullaperiyar dam as Chief Minister Jayalalithaa accused Kerala of adopting 'deceiving' tactics on the issue.

A one-day special assembly session convened in the midst of the heightened tensions between the two states on the dam issue passed the resolution reasserting the state's right over the 116-year old dam which Kerala wants to be demolished to build a new one on safety concerns.

The resolution moved by Jayalalithaa also pressed for deployment of Central Industrial Security Force to protect the dam in view of the 'tense' situation in both the states.

"This House resolves that under no circumstance will Tamil Nadu give up its rights (over the dam)," said the resolution.

It also asked Kerala to make suitable amendments to the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006, to increase the water level to 142 feet as allowed by the Supreme Court and not to obstruct Tamil Nadu from carrying out further strengthening works so as to rise the level to 152 feet in the long term.

Giving a new twist to the row, Jayalalithaa said Kerala was insisting on a new dam in order to generate more hydro-power from the Idukki Dam and termed as 'deceiving tactics' the neighbouring state's claim that Tamil Nadu would continue to get the same quantum of water as at present.

"The Kerala government had planned to generate 780 mw of power from Idukki reservoir. If there is no Mullaperiyar dam, its entire water will reach Idukki, allowing power generation. There are doubts that this is the reason for the Kerala government's mischievous propaganda that the Mullaperiyar dam is weak," she said in her concluding remarks.

Jayalalithaa also targeted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for "not acting" on her letters requesting him to advise Kerala not to create panic on the safety of the dam and demanding CISF deployment.

Doubting Kerala's assurances of giving Tamil Nadu its due share of water from the new dam, she referred to a Detailed Project Report submitted by it before the Supreme Court appointed Empowered Committee looking into the matter.

"Kerala's claim of providing the same quantity of water received by Tamil Nadu now is deceiving tactics. In its DPR submitted before the Empowered Committee, Kerala had said the maximum level of the new dam would be 136 ft and sluice gates would be designed to let out 1.6 tmc ft of water for environmental purposes.

"This clearly shows that Tamil Nadu's share of water will go down. Therefore, the argument (by Kerala) that the dam is weak is only a strategy to deny Tamil Nadu its share of water," she said.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said earlier in the day that his state was ready for a tripartite agreement and that "we are ready to give the assurance in Supreme Court".

Jayalalithaa charged the Kerala government with spreading rumours that the dam was unsafe only to create panic among people. "It is unfortunate that the Kerala government is carrying out a mischievous propaganda to earn political mileage."

She said as Kerala government was whipping up "sentiments and emotions" of the people, the special assembly session was convened "only to tell the world" that the people of Tamil Nadu were united and the state would not give up its rights on the dam water.

Apparently referring to the sporadic incidents of violence targeting Tamils and Keralites, Jayalalithaa said, "The state government is determined to ensure cordial ties between the people of two states are maintained. I urge the people of the two states not to give in (to the designs of) divisive forces."

Countering Kerala's argument that the dam was located on an earthquake-prone zone, Jayalalithaa said it came under seismic zone III where tremors are only recorded on the Richter scale but not felt.

"The Kerala Chief Minister had written to me recently saying there had been 22 instances of tremors in the area in the last four months but official statistics reveal only four tremors had been recorded in four months," she said.

Earlier, members from opposition parties including Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Communist Party of India-Marxist and the CPI participated in the debate.

Principal opposition the DMDK demanded that the Centre take over the operation, maintenance and management of the dam, besides stationing the Army to protect it.

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