Thiruvananthapuram | With the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam remaining above 141 feet, Kerala continued to voice its concern on the safety of people living downstream and stepped up its emergency plan today to meet any eventuality arising from the situation. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed the situation as serious and expressed deep anxiety about the safety of the people in vulnerable areas.
The Chief Wildlife Warden has been asked to submit a report on environment impact due to the increase in water, he said. All these matters would be brought before the Supreme Court and the National Green Tribunal, he said. Echoing similar sentiments, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President V M Sudheeran said Tamil Nadu’s stand on the issue went against federal norms and sought central intervention in the matter.
Tamil Nadu is not giving consideration to the safety of the people. This went against federal principles. The Centre should intervene in the matter, he told reporters. Giving details on the emergency measures taken by the government near the dam site, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakesh said two companies of State Disaster Response Team had been deployed at Vandiperiyar and Upputhura in Idukki district where the dam is situated.
Besides this, 100 cluster teams with 20 people each, trained in disaster management in local villages, had already been placed in the area. The district authorities had been asked to closely monitor the situation and take necessary steps in case an emergency arose, he said. Though people living on the banks of Periyar river have been asked to move away, they would not be evacuated without their consent, he said.
The Government has convened an all-party meet to discuss the issue on November 26 to work out a consensus on strategies to tackle the issue. Kerala and Tamil Nadu have for long been at loggerheads over the water level in the dam. Kerala has been insisting that the level be maintained at 136 feet while Tamil Nadu wants to raise it to 142 feet. Tamil Nadu takes water from the reservoir for irrigation purposes in five districts.
The Supreme Court had earlier this year rejected Kerala’s demand for a new dam in place of the old dam and upheld Tamil Nadu’s stand to peg the water level upto 142 feet. A review petition filed by Kerala against that order is pending before the Apex court.
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