THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An all-party meeting convened on the Mullaperiyar issue on Wednesday decided to send a delegation of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan and Water Resources Minister P J Joseph to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and convey the state’s demand for setting up an expert panel to examine the strength of the 119-year-old dam.
“We aren’t convinced that the 119-year-old dam is safe, in spite of the Supreme Court verdict. The all-party meeting arrived at a consensus to stick to the demand for fresh studies on the dam’s safety by a panel of international and national experts. We are looking forward to the review petition slated for December 2,” said Joseph after the meeting.
The meet also decided to approach the National Green Tribunal with the claim that the raising of the water level from 136 ft to 142 ft, allowed by the Supreme court, has already affected the flora and fauna of the 5.68-square kilometre expanse covering evergreen, semi-evergreen forests and swamp areas. Forest Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said the tribunal would be apprised of the fact that the clauses of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, which prescribes a public hearing of affected parties, had not been adhered to while allowing Tamil Nadu to increase the water level.
“Also, the Supreme Court hasn’t taken into account the provisions of other three Central laws – the Forest Conservation Act,1980; the Wildlife and Protection Act,1972, and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006,” he said. However, BJP state president V Muraleedharan said there was no point in meeting the Prime Minister, especially when nothing happened after the water level touched 142 ft.
“How can the Prime Minister take a stand in favour of Kerala at this stage? The state should have approached him before the Supreme Court verdict came. He cannot antagonise Tamil Nadu and take any stand opposed to the court directive,” he said.