TN objects to Kerala’s proposal for new Mullaiperiyar dam, CM writes to Centre

Chennai, May 24 (PTI) Tamil Nadu government on Friday strongly objected to the Centre’s inclusion of Kerala’s proposal for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study on constructing a new Mullaiperiyar dam at the Expert Appraisal Committee meeting on May 28 and demanded that the subject be dropped from the agenda.

Also, Chief Minister M K Stalin warned of legal action if the Supreme Court’s earlier orders on the Mullaiperiyar reservoir issue were not adhered to by stakeholders.

“I wish to convey the strong objection of the Tamil Nadu government to the Union Government’s consideration of Kerala’s proposal to take up a study for constructing a new dam at Mullaiperiyar (after demolishing the existing one), in violation of the Supreme Court order,” Stalin said in a letter addressed to Union Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav.

He said the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) has included the proposal by Kerala’s Irrigation Design and Research Board (IDRB), in the agenda of its upcoming meeting. This proposal for constructing a new reservoir in lieu of the existing Mullaiperiyar dam was against the directions of the Supreme Court, he said.

Various expert committees have repeatedly found the existing dam safe in all aspects and this was highlighted by the apex court in its judgments on February 27, 2006, and May 7, 2014. In 2018, Tamil Nadu took up the case in the Supreme Court when Kerala attempted to get approval for an EIA study for the proposal for a new dam. It was ruled that any such step would require the court’s permission, Stalin said in the letter.

Therefore, the current act of Kerala’s IDRB as well as the EAC considering the former’s request would amount to contempt of the Supreme Court order, he said.

Tamil Nadu’s objections were already conveyed by the Additional Chief Secretary, Water Resources department to the Secretary, MoEF and all the members of EAC, the chief minister added.

“We intend to take strong legal action, including (filing) contempt petitions, if the earlier orders of the Supreme Court are not adhered to by various stakeholders in this issue,” Stalin said in the letter.

Hence, he urged Bhupender Yadav to instruct MoEF officials and the Member Secretary, EAC, to drop from the agenda Kerala’s proposal for an EIA study for a new Mullaiperiyar dam at the meeting on May 28.

“Also the Centre should not take up any such proposal from Kerala in the future. Considering the sensitivity of the situation, I solicit your immediate personal intervention in this regard,” Stalin urged.

Meanwhile, AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K Palaniswami called upon the state government to take strong legal action against neighbouring Kerala for violating the apex court’s verdict.

“Atleast now the DMK government should wake up and take legal action and thus put an end to the malicious acts of the Kerala government. It should uphold Tamil Nadu’s rights and take steps to strengthen Mullaiperiyar’s Baby (auxiliary) dam as per the Supreme Court order besides enhancing the existing dam’s water level to 152 feet,” Palaniswami said in a statement.

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