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Only solution to Mullaperiyar is new dam: Chandy

By Ians English

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 10: The only permanent solution to the Mullaperiyar dam is a new dam, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Wednesday, Dec 9.

"In all other disputes over dams between states, the main issue is over the sharing of water, but here in the Mullaperiyar dam, we are only glad to give water to Tamil Nadu as we know a few districts of theirs depend on water from this dam. The only solution to this is a new dam, which we will be built using our resources, but water will always be given to them," said Chandy.

Oomen Chandy

Tamil Nadu, however, is not agreeing to a new dam in lieu of Mullaperiyar.

According to an apex court directive in May 2014, Tamil Nadu was allowed to increase the water level in the dam only up to 142 feet.

The water level in Mullaperiyar at present is barely inches short of 142 feet and angry residents of Idukki over the past one week are living in fear following heavy rains.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British regime.

Though the dam is located in Kerala, it is owned, maintained and operated by Tamil Nadu and the former has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam that has developed leaks.

"Don't forget that the union environment ministry had given us clearance for conducting an EIA study for a new dam downstream of the present dam, later it was cancelled," said Chandy.

"Please understand we have good relations with Tamil Nadu and all know that the present Mullaperiyar cannot function indefinitely. If not today, tomorrow this dam has to be de-commissioned and our request is it has to take place today. We will seek administrative and legal steps to see our valid demand for a new dam is accepted," added Chandy.

Chandy and a few of his cabinet colleagues will be in Delhi for the next two days and will raise this issue with various cabinet ministers.


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