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Periyar Dam: Farmers mull moving court

Written by: Staff
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Madurai, Apr 2 (UNI) Farmers associations in the Periyar-Vaigai Basin are contemplating contempt proceedings against Kerala Government for its 'non-compliance' with the Supreme Court order directing it to raise the storage level in the Periyar Dam to 142 ft.

The farmers will have no other option if the political leadership at the Centre failed to make Kerala abide by the apex court's ruling, Cumbum Valley Farmers Association Vice-President K A Abbas told UNI here this morning.

A delegation of various farmers' fora in the Periyar-Vaigai Basin will meet the President and the Prime Minister to impress upon them the need to expeditiously act on this front.

Efforts were on to rope in all the Members of Parliament from the state to engage in this exercise planned in May after the Assembly elections, he added.

In the absence of any tangible movement in increasing the storage level, the farmers will approach the judiciary to initiate contempt proceedings, Mr Abbas noted.

As the water level in the dam up to 104 ft, near the inter-state border, was dead storage, the benefit accruing to Tamil Nadu from the Supreme Court verdict was negligible.

As such, the farmers would continue their struggle to revert the level to the original 152 ft since the Central Water Commission had more than once certified the century-old reservoir, built to bring water in the reverse direction, was safe and strong.

Describing the Kerala Protection of Dams (Amendment) Bill 2006 as a 'blatant attempt to circumvent the Supreme Court judgment,' the farmers' leader wondered how the House could be convened after the notification for the Assembly elections were issued.

A memorandum had been sent to the Central Election Commission and its action was awaited, he added.

UNI CR MSJ KP1615

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