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Mullaperiyar dam issue reaches flashpoint

Kerala and Tamil Nadu clashes over dam issue; TN threatens to withdraw from talks.

November 23, 2006

Mullaperiyar dam picture

The Mullaperiyara Dam stand-off has received yet another jolt with Tamil Nadu threatening to withdraw from talks scheduled for Monday. 

This decision comes following Kerala sending a team of naval experts to inspect the safety of the reservoir which it called back following central intervention. It has been reported that strong words have been exchanged in this regard between chief ministers M Karunanidhi and V S Achuthanandan who accused each other of indulging in provocative acts. 

Irked, Karunanidhi has shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that Tamil Nadu would not be in a position to attend the talks with Achuthanandan in Delhi on Monday if Kerala continued to indulge in unfair and provocative acts. 

Warning that his state would move the Supreme Court , Karunanidhi lambasted certain remarks made by Achuthanandan and politicians from Kerala, which, he said, were irresponsible and provocative. 

Meanwhile, the Kerala government has asked the 19-member naval team to give up its mission following Centre's intervention in response to Tamil Nadu's objections. Kerala's Water Resources Minister Premachandran meanwhile has said that Kerala will continue to do all that is necessary to safeguard its interests in the issue, and that the government is keen to avoid provocative steps. 

The issue reached the flash point after a team of naval experts had begun studying the safety of the 111-year-old dam on a request from Kerala government which was concerned following a sudden increase in its water level over the past few days. 

Achuthandandan has, in the meantime, termed Karunanidhi's objections to the act of examining the dam's safety as strange. The reservoir stood on the land leased to Tamil Nadu by Kerala and that it did not require advance permission of the neighbour state to assess the dam's safety, he added. Kerala is concerned about the safety of life and property of 3.5 million people in five districts, he added.




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