Kerala opposition meets CM

Kerala opposition meets CM over his Mullaperiyar dam safe remark

Thiruvananthapuram, June 3 (IANS) Leaders of the Kerala opposition, led by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, met Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday and conveyed their concern over Vijayan’s statement that the leaking Mullaperiyar dam was safe.

Addressing reporters here in the media room of the assembly complex, Chennithala said that Vijayan’s statement made in Delhi last week to the media that the dam is safe has caused huge fear in the minds of people in Kerala.

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“This stand is contrary to the earlier stand taken by successive governments here that the dam has lived its life and is a serious threat to the safety of the people. It was due to this that an unanimous resolution for a new dam was passed in the assembly,” said Chennithala.

Four unanimous resolutions have been passed by the Kerala assembly over the years that safety for Kerala and water for Tamil Nadu is the need of the hour and the only way out is that Kerala would build a new dam in place of Mullaperiyar dam.

“He (Vijayan) said the state government will put in place a team of experts of international repute to study the safety of the dam. While we welcomed this stand, we expressed our concern that his statement will be taken up by Tamil Nadu as they will soon approach the Supreme Court to increase the water level from 142 feet to 152 feet,” added Chennithala.

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 regime.

Though the dam is located in Kerala, it is owned, maintained and operated by Tamil Nadu and Kerala has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam that has developed leaks.

While the Kerala government said that the dam is posing a serious threat to lives and property in five districts of the state taking into account its age, Tamil Nadu wants the height and water storage of the dam to be increased.

A Supreme Court directive in May 2014 allowed Tamil Nadu to increase the water level from 136 feet to a maximum of 142 feet.

The social media in Tamil is actively portraying Vijayan as a hero in Tamil Nadu, ever since he mentioned that the dam is safe.

His party colleague and former Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has already shot off a letter to the party leadership that Vijayan’s statement was “unwarranted”, and that the CPI, the second biggest constituent of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF), was also taken aback by the statement.

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