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Panel submits reports to SC on Mullaperiyar

April 25, 2012 21:35 IST

The Empowered Committee on the controversial Mullaperiyar Dam issue on Wednesday submitted its report to the Supreme Court in a sealed cover which would be examined by a Constitution Bench.

The five-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand which had finalised the report is understood to have focused on all aspects of the 119-year-old dam including its safety.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala are at loggerheads over the continuance of the dam. A five-judge Constitution Bench is scheduled to take up the matter on May 4.

The committee, which was set up by the apex court in February 2010 to go into all aspects of the dam, had undertaken several visits to the dam site and conducted tests and studies through various agencies on many aspects including safety.

While former apex court judge A R Lakshmanan represents Tamil Nadu, another ex-Supreme Court judge K T Thomas represents Kerala.

There has been tension between the two states over the safety of the dam.    

While Tamil Nadu contends that the dam is safe and its water level has to be raised from 132 ft to 136 ft, Kerala says the structure is weak and it has to be replaced with a new dam.

As tensions rose between the two states in December last year, a two-member technical team of the Empowered Committee visited the site and is understood to have concluded that recent tremors in that region did not have any impact on the Mullaperiyar and Idukki dams and that they were safe.

The committee's tenure was extended after February this year to enable it to complete its report.

The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had earlier slammed Tamil Nadu and Kerala for whipping up sentiments on the Mullaperiyar dam issue and adding fuel to the fire instead of dousing it by inciting people.

Urging the two states to observe "sensitiveness and sanity", the apex court had directed Tamil Nadu to ensure that the water level did not breach the 136 feet level and rejected Kerala's plea for restricting the limit to 120 feet.

The Constitution comprising justices D K Jain, R M Lodha, Deepak Verma, C K Prasad and A R Dave had also castigated Tamil Nadu for misusing the apex court's earlier orders and oral observations through huge newspaper advertisements and also declined to entertain its plea for restraining Kerala leaders from making any statements on the dam row.

"How can we stop them with a gag order. Kindly see your prayer. How do we issue such a gag order. If somebody wants to protest he can.

"You are issuing press advertisements. Even our oral observations are being mentioned in the advertisements. It is very unfortunate. You must have had some senior counsel's assistance while issuing the advertisements," the bench had remarked.

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