Increased security for Kerala’s Mullaperiyar dam

July 26th, 2010 - 4:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Thiruvananthapuram, July 26 (IANS) Security would be increased for the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala’s Idukki district, specially in the wake of radical Muslim group Popular Front of India (PFI) being probed for suspected terror links, state Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said Monday.
There are three ways to reach the dam, of which two are adequately covered with proper security arrangements. A third passage to the dam is through the forest that is guarded only by forest officers, Premachandran said.

“The surveillance through this forest route would be immediately strengthened. A recent study conducted by the central government has categorized this dam under the A-category taking into account its age and the present stability,” Premachandran told the state assembly.

“Currently there is a 14-member Kerala Police team that stands guard at the dam. The Tamil Nadu government is, however, not that helpful to our police team with regards to the facilities extended to them. In the wake of all this and the recent issues related to terror, we will see that all surveillance activities are increased,” he added.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the present dam built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then maharaja of Travancore and the British administration.

While the dam is located in Kerala’s Idukki district, it serves Tamil Nadu. In recent years, Tamil Nadu has demanded that the storage capacity of the dam be raised from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation.

While Kerala has been demanding a new dam, Tamil Nadu has been vehemently opposed to it. Early this year, a high-level empowered committee was appointed by the Supreme Court to go into all issues, including the safety aspects of the Mullaperiyar dam.

Activists of the Popular Front of India (PFI) have been accused of chopping off the hand of a college professor in Muvattupuzha for allegedly making derogatory references to Prophet Mohammed.

Earlier this month, arms were recovered from the compound of a building owned by a mosque in Kannur in north Kerala. Literature linked to the PFI was also recovered from the site, police said.

On July 13, the Kerala High Court had directed the central and state governments to give their views on banning the PFI.

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