Kerala, TN members clash in RS over Mullaperiyar Dam issue

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Mullaperiyar Dam
New Delhi, Dec 7: Members from Kerala and Tamil Nadu clashed in the Rajya Sabha over Mullaperiyar dam controversy, seeking Centre's intervention in resolving the contentious issue.

Members from Tamil Nadu, cutting across party lines, said the 116-year-old dam was safe and demanded its water level be raised to 142 ft level, while those from Kerala said it was a question of life and death of the people in the state and their safety should not be compromised with.

Raising the issue during Zero House, AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan said the Kerala government was spreading rumours on the safety of the dam, despite the Supreme Court declaring it safe.

"The Government of Kerala is creating panic and rumour among its people... it said 22 tremors occurred in last two months, which is blatantly untrue. There have been only four tremors last year," he said seeking Centre's intervention in raising the water level of the dam, which he said was affecting the crops in Tamil Nadu.

Echoing similar sentiments, DMK leader Tiruchi Siva said the dam was strong enough and safe, as has been certified, and sought raising of its water level.

"All apprehensions that it falls under seismic zone are baseless... Some miscreants are trying to damage the dam. We have already demanded that CISF be deployed there...We seek the intervention of the Centre to increase the capacity of water to 142 ft," he said.

Congress member from Tamil Nadu E. M. Sudarsana Natchiappan said the issue of livelihood and agriculture must be looked into, fearing there could be a law and order problem.

He said the Supreme Court has constituted a committee headed by a former Chief Justice and Kerala can report to it committee if it had any issues.

D. Raja (CPI) said a solution to the contentious issue should be found soon taking into account the interests of both the states and added that nothing should be done that might adversely impact the best relations between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

"I did meet the Prime Minister and asked him to intervene. It will be appropriate if the PM calls both the chief ministers and finds an amicable and meaningful solution. The Centre should take a pro-active role and convene a meeting of both states," he said.

Congress member from Kerala P. J. Kurien said not a drop of water going to Tamil Nadu will be removed.
Mentioning the report of IIT-Roorkee that the 116-year-old dam will not be able to withstand an earthquake measuring above 5 on the Richter scale, Kurien suggested construction of a new quake-resistant dam.

"If the dam is not safe, let us have another dam... there is a fear which needs to be allayed," he said.
T. K. Rangarajan (CPI-M) said the people of Tamil Nadu were not having two crops due to less water and their interests should be protected.

"This vandalism should also be stopped... law and order should be there and the Centre should intervene," he said.
T. N. Seema (CPI-M) said the issue pertained to the life and death of 30 lakh people and there must be some solution to the issue. "There is a danger...we cannot live in fear," she said.

PTI

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