Chennai | With the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam touching the contentious 142 foot mark, the Kerala government today urged Tamil Nadu to understand its concerns over the dam’s stability, while indicating that it had no problems sharing water with its neighbour.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated his government’s stand that the 117 year old structure was not safe and expressed concern over safety of the people nearby. We are only concerned about the safety of the people. The dam is 117 year sold. We are actually afraid of its safety and that is the only concern of the Kerala government, he told reporters at the airport here.
He said Tamil Nadu government must understand the concerns. We know the importance of the water (from the dam) for five or six districts, in this state, in apparent reference to the southern parts dependent on water from the reservoir. Safety of the dam is the real apprehension and otherwise there is nothing to worry, he said. He claimed that wildlife had been ‘affected’ with the water level touching 142 feet.
Asked if he would personally take up with his Tamil Nadu counterpart, O Panneerselvam, about lowering the level, he replied in the negative, saying he had come here to attend a private function. Kerala has been insisting that the level be maintained at 136 feet, while Tamil Nadu wants to raise it to 142 feet. The Supreme Court had earlier this year rejected Kerala’s demand for a new dam in place of the old one and upheld Tamil Nadu’s stand to raise the water level upto 142 feet.
Chandy said his government would approach the Supreme Court and express their concern on the safety of the dam. We already wrote to the Chief Minister (of Tamil Nadu) and we will approach the Supreme Court and will inform all our concerns at the appropriate place, Chandy told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
Asked about the visit of Kerala MLA Bijimol to the dam, which prompted Tamil Nadu to approach the Supreme Court seeking to deploy CISF personnel at the dam, Chandy said, That is not at all correct. She (Bijimol) is the local MLA. A lot of people have expressed their concern about the safety of the dam. So, against that background, she visited the place as an MLA, as a people’s representative. Nobody was there along with the MLA.
Replying to a query on illegal sand mining activity in Kerala, Chandy said, Sand auditing is going on. We are going to conduct sand audit in all the rivers (in Kerala). We have completed 20 rivers…after auditing is complete, we will give permission to take sand from the rivers.
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