Chandy hopes Mullaperiyar issue will be amicably resolved

December 12th, 2011 - 7:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Pathanamthitta (Kerala), Dec 12 (IANS) With an amicable solution to the Kerala-Tamil Nadu tangle over the 115-year-old leaking Mullaperiyar Dam not yet in sight, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday said “vested interests” are trying to make it an issue between the two states.

“The dam issue has become a safety concern of Keralites and we are fully committed that the water sharing agreement from the dam will not be altered. Tamil Nadu should be aware that the present dam poses a serious threat to the lives of Keralites. We are all hopeful that the issue will be amicably resolved,” said Chandy, addressing a public meeting before launching his People Contact Programme here.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj. It is located in Kerala and its waters also serve Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu wants the dam’s storage capacity to be increased by raising the dam height from 136 feet (41.5 metres) to 142 feet (43 metres) as the state’s irrigation needs have shot up.

Kerala is worried that a strong earthquake might damage the dam and cause widespread destruction. It is seeking a new dam and has offered to fund and build it, but Tamil Nadu does not agree.

Experts say if a quake strikes and the dam is damaged, over four million people and their property in districts of Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and parts of Thrissur would be washed away.

Meanwhile, for the fourth day in succession, the border of the two states at Kumali near the Thekkady wild life resort continued to be tense with a huge police force from the two states guarding the border to prevent any untoward incident as people on both sides have turned emotional over the issue.

State Finance Minister and party chairman of Kerala Congress (Mani) K.M. Mani told reporters in Palakkad Monday that if the dam issue is not resolved in the next 10 days, the people would have no other go but to intensify their stir.

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