Mullaperiyar dam , bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Kerala

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New Delhi, Feb 6 (UNI) The Supreme Court will hear on February 26 a petition seeking building of a new dam to replace 113-year-old Mullaperiyar dam, a bone of contention between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The petition filed by an NGO 'Janshakti' headed by former IAS officer K J Alphons, (MLA) who has also prayed to the court that the cost of the new dam should be borne by the state of Tamil Nadu.It should also pay to the state of Kerala a fair market price for water and electricity.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal fixed the date of hearing for February 26 when the petition was mentioned before the court for urgent hearing.

According to the petitioner, the dam, which has already outlived its life, can endanger Idukki dam which is downstream and is one of the biggest dams in Asia. Any breach may also kill millions of people living downstream.

The petitioner has also contended that fundamental right to life of millions of people is under constant threat and the state of Tamil Nadu is getting the annual benefit to the tune of Rs 650 crores in the form of water and generation of electricity.

The dam spread over 8000 acres of land in erstwhile Travancore state was leased out to the Secretary of State of India through a lease deed in 1886 for a period of 999 years.The dam was commissioned in 1895.

The petitioner has also prayed to the court that direction for decommissioning of the obsolete dam should be issued.

The respondents include the central government and the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

UNI AKS SC SY ND1744

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