PM to speak to Chandy, Jayalalithaa on Mullaperiyar

November 25th, 2011 - 6:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Friday promised to speak to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa and Kerala’s Oommen Chandy to defuse tensions between the two southern states over the Mullaperiyar dam and find an amicable solution, said MPs from Kerala after meeting him.

“The prime minister assured us that he will take all possible steps to defuse the situation, but advised that an emotional upsurge should be avoided,” senior Congress leader P.C. Chacko told reporters after the meeting.

The Kerala MPs, belonging to various parties, met the prime minister at his office in the Parliament House for 15 minutes Friday.

They drew his attention to the fact that the dam is situated in an earthquake prone area and the water level had been crossing the danger level, Kerala Congress-Mani leader Jose K.Mani said.

Several other MPs, including P. Rajeeve (Communist Party of India-Marxist) and Kodikunnil Suresh (Congress), also urged the prime minister for immediate intervention of the central government in the issue.

Panic has spread among the residents of the central districts of Kerala after some cracks appeared recently in the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki district, bordering Tamil Nadu.

The dam, though located in Kerala, is under the control of Tamil Nadu as the land has been given on lease for a long period (999 years) to Tamil Nadu.

Kerala wants a new dam to be built as it says the existing dam has surpassed its life-span. Tamil Nadu government, however, wants its height to be raised, saying a Supreme Court appointed committee has declared the dam safe.

The dispute is pending before the Supreme Court.

An all-party meeting convened by the Kerala government recently had sought Tamil Nadu’s cooperation in buiding a new dam. It also proposed to bring down the dam’s storage level to 120 feet from 136 feet till a new structure is built.

A recent study by Indian Institute of Technology-Roorkee engineers pointed out that the dam would collapse if an earthquake of 6.4 magnitude on Richter scale struck it, the meeting pointed out.

On the other hand, Jayalalithaa Wednesday requested the prime minister to advise the Kerala government “not to venture upon a new dam” and also not to whip up a sense of fear among the public about the safety of the dam.

In a letter to Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa requested him to advise the Kerala government to “honour the rights guaranteed to the government of Tamil Nadu under the 1886 agreement followed by the supplemental agreements of 1970 in letter and spirit and abide by the Supreme Court’s Feb 2, 2006, order and repeal its amended act of 2006.”

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