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Nothing lost in Mullaperiyar case: Karunanidhi

Chennai, Feb 19 (Calcutta Tube) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Friday said that the state has not lost anything nor has it given anything to Kerala in the Mullaperiyar Dam case that is being heard by the Supreme Court.

The chief minister was reacting to the decision of the apex court to form a five member committee under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand to go into all issues relating to the safety of the dam and the storage level.

In a statement issued here, Karunanidhi said: ‘The Supreme Court under Article 131 has appointed the five member committee, which will analyse the dam safety and its storage level and submit a report to the court in six months time.’

He said: ‘The Tamil Nadu government has not given out anything nor is the decision favourable to Kerala.’

Reacting to the apex court’s order, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Thursday said: ‘We are delighted by this judgment. We will present more facts before the committee as to why we say that the present dam is unsafe.’

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

The dam is on the headwaters of the Periyar river in Kerala. According to a 999-year lease agreement signed during the British rule, it is operated by Tamil Nadu.

Citing safety concerns, Kerala has been demanding the construction of a new dam, which Tamil Nadu has vehemently opposed while demanding to increase the storage capacity of the existing dam from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for drinking and irrigation.

In 2006 the apex court had permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the water level in the dam up to 142 ft after carrying out some repairs. Subsequently, the Kerala Legislature passed the Kerala Irrigation and water Conservation (Amendment) Act 2006 to circumvent the Supreme Court order the legal validity of which is now being contested by Tamil Nadu in the apex court.

According to Kerala, the over a century-old dam has outlived its utility and its continued existence on its territory with the raised water level would be a consistent threat to lakhs of people in the state.

Reacting to the latest decision of the apex court in setting up of a five member committee, PMK founder S. Ramadoss said: ‘While the court’s decision is to be respected it seems the Supreme Court has let down Tamil Nadu with its decision.’

The safety of the dam and the environmental concerns were looked into in detail by experts earlier based on which in 2006 the apex court had permitted Tamil Nadu to increase the storage level to 142 ft, he added.

He said that the Tamil Nadu chief minister should call an all party meeting to find ways and means to make Kerala understand and stop its ‘intractable attitude’.

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