NEW DELHI: Making it clear that the Mullaiperiyar dam will remain a controversial hotspot between the two neighbouring states, both Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Friday stuck to their conventional position when asked by the Supreme Court to respond regarding control of a new dam, if it is built.
While Tamil Nadu questio­ned the very idea of a new dam, Kerala repeated its sta­ted position that it is ready for a joint regulation of waters of such a dam. But it insisted that the ownership, operation and maintenance of the dam should rest with the state.
Both states conveyed their decisions to the Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Friday.
Tamil Nadu, opposing a new dam, said: “It is categorically reiterated that since the existing retrofitted dam is safe, the question of constructing a new dam is only hypothetical and therefore the question of any joint monitoring will not arise.”
Hence, issues as to ownership, control and regulation of the new dam are issues which also would not arise for consideration, it said.
TN said that given the past events, the state has “genuine apprehensions about a scenario of ownership/control of the proposed new dam with the State of Kerala”.
Tamil Nadu has also raised suspicion regarding Kerala’s motive behind the demand for a new dam.
“All the contentions raised by the State of Kerala are only an attempt to get over the existing regime and to work out a new regime which would take away the existing and established rights of State of Tamil Nadu to all the waters below the contour line of 155 ft of the existing dam.
“It is therefore submitted that the contention of Kerala to bring in the principle of just and equitable share and for sharing the benefits of the new dam would clearly show that the proposal is not bona fide and is only an attempt to get over the existing established rights of the State of Tamil Nadu to the waters of the Mullaiperiyar river and as such is wholly impermissible,” Tamil Nadu maintained in its letter submitted through its advocate G Umapathy.
Tamil Nadu has also claimed that the various apprehensions expressed by Kerala are apparently an excuse to protect the encroachments, which have taken place in the upstream water spread area, as the water has not been stored above 136 ft since 1980.