Kerala acting against constitution on Mullaperiyar: Tamil Nadu

February 5th, 2011 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 5 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government Saturday strongly condemned the Kerala government for acting against the Indian constitution over the Mullaperiyar Dam issue and said it was tantamount to contempt of the Supreme Court.Reading out a statement while presenting the interim budget for the year 2011-12, Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan said: “In the Mullaperiyar Dam issue, the Kerala government is functioning in a way that is against the Indian Constitution and also affecting the relations between two neighbourly states.”

He said part of that plan is the Kerala governor’s speech in which it was mentioned that the government would start the Mullaperiyar Dam construction work this year itself.

Kerala Governor R.S. Gavai addressing the state assembly Friday declared construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar will begin this year itself.

Tracing the dispute, Anbazhagan said the Kerala government amended its laws nullifying the Supreme Court’s order of February 2006, the validity of which is contested by Tamil Nadu in the apex court.

Anbazhagan said the Supreme Court has appointed an empowered committee headed by retired Justice of the apex court A.S. Anand to go into various issues of the dam, which is located in Kerala’s Idukki district but serves Tamil Nadu.

“The committee on Dec 21, 2010 inspected the dam. Given this position the Kerala government’s statement that new dam construction work at Mullaperiyar would commence this year itself contemptuous of the Supreme Court,” Anbazhagan said.

According to him the Tamil Nadu government would urge the centre to prevent Kerala from acting in a manner that affects the relationship between two states.

“At the appropriate time the state government would put forth its views before the Supreme Court,” Anbazhagan said.

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

The dam, located in Kerala’s Idukki district, 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.

However, Kerala is seeking construction of a new dam, saying that the existing structure had outlived its life.

While the Supreme Court gave its order in favour of Tamil Nadu to raise the storage levels to 142 ft in February 2006, the Kerala government passed a law effectively nullifying the judgment in March that year.

Opposing the Kerala law, Tamil Nadu had filed a case in the Supreme Court in 2006.

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