Thiruvananthapuram : Opting for a legal solution to the Mullapperiyar dispute with Tamil Nadu, Kerala has sought President’s intervention against Supreme Court’s verdict allowing Tamil Nadu to raise the storage level in the 119-year-old dam.
The State Assembly on Monday unanimously passed a resolution urging President Pranab Mukherjee to refer the issue to the apex court in the light of the danger posed to life and properties of nearly 40 lakh people living downstream of the dam.
Observing that the dam is safe, the apex court on May 7 had struck down a law passed by the state assembly declaring Mullaperiyar dam as endangered and allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the water level to 142 feet from 136 feet.
Taking a serious view of the verdict, the Assembly called for the reference under Article 143 of the Constitution, citing catastrophic effect of a dam failure in a substantive motion, moved by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.
The motion said the people were concerned about the safety of the dam. The court had not taken any of the points raised and concerns expressed by Kerala seriously. Now the only solution to the problem is construction of a new dam to ensure safety of the people and supply of water to Tamil Nadu.
The motion pointed out that the two states had in 1979 jointly identified a site for the new dam and called on the Union government to mediate for an understanding between the two states on the construction of the dam.
It said that the construction for raising the water level would result in the destruction of forests, wildlife, and rare flora in the adjoining areas of the reservoir. The central government should ensure that the laws for protection of forests, wildlife, and environment were strictly followed.
Minister for Water Resources P J Joseph said there could be no compromise on people’s safety, and the new dam was the ultimate solution. He said the issue should be brought to the notice of international agencies like United Nations as it involved human rights violation.
Earlier, opposition leader V S Achuthanandan said serious lapses happened on the Kerala Government side during the arguments in the apex court. He said Tamil Nadu had won the case due to the failure by the government to properly present the state’s concerns before the court. He wants international experts engaged to ensure the safety of the dam.