Vaiko fumes over dam, Kerala calls him ignorant

Palakkad (Kerala), May 28 (IANS) Tamil Nadu MDMK leader Vaiko Friday warned Kerala not to pull down the Mullaperiyar dam, but the state’s Left Democratic Front accused him of whipping up needless passions.

The MDMK blocked all vehicular traffic at 12 points on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border and said the Kerala government should not construct a new dam in the place of the ageing Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki district.

‘A fear psychosis is being created by (Kerala Chief Minister V.S.) Achuthanandan and his government on the safety of Mullaperiyar dam that it is going to break down and many Keralites would be drowned,’ Vaiko said to his supporters at Chavadi on the border near here.

‘Mullaperiyar dam is stronger than the Idukki dam. I want to warn Achuthanandan that if the Mullaperiyar dam is touched, things will be bad. Don’t forget that we supply all the essential things from milk to rice to Kerala,’ he said.

Kerala Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said the MDMK leader was either ignorant of facts or trying to make political capital by whipping up Tamil passions.

‘We have never said we will not give water to Tamil Nadu. He is trying to provoke Kerala but we are not going to be provoked. One should note that an amicable situation is being worked out by the apex court, the central and the two state governments. This is a gimmick by Vaiko to regain his lost political clout,’ he said.

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.

While the dam is located in Kerala’s Idukki district, it serves Tamil Nadu. Both states were carved on linguistic basis in 1956.

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.

But Kerala wants a new dam as a recent study done by IIT Roorkee found that the dam would collapse if a quake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale occurs.

In February, the Supreme Court set up a high-level empowered committee to go into all issues relating to the dam, including its safety aspects, raising the water level beyond 136 feet besides Kerala’s demand for a new dam.

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