NEW DELHI: The wildlife panel of the Union Environment Ministry has withdrawn permission for conducting an environment impact assessment (EIA) study for the new Mullaiperiyar dam after Tamil Nadu informed it that according to an apex court order, agreement between TN and Kerala was necessary for construction of the new dam.
In August 2014, the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife, headed by Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, had given the go-ahead to Kerala for conducting the EIA for construction of a new Mullaiperiyar dam in the vicinity of the existing dam. The decision to withdraw the permission was made in the NBWL’s Standing Committee meeting on August 18. “Subsequently, it was brought to the notice by the government of Tamil Nadu that the SC had directed that agreement between Tamil Nadu and Kerala was necessary for... a new dam,” said the minutes of the meeting.
“In such a scenario, the recommendation of the Standing Committee becomes irrelevant. In view of the above facts, the Committee decided to withdraw its earlier recommendation for EIA study,” the minutes said.
Based on the recommendation of its expert appraisal committee, the MoEF had recently denied permission to the Kerala government for conducting a pre-feasibility study for building a new dam at Mullaiperiyar.
The deial was because a case related to the issue was pending before the Supreme Court and it could not take a decision till it received directives from the apex court.
The Kerala government had then said the MoEF had earlier allowed them to do the EIA, but had now withdrawn because of pressure from Tamil Nadu.
The proposed project — the new Mullaiperiyar dam — is within a 10-km radial distance of the Periyar Tiger Reserve area and the inter-State boundary with Tamil Nadu.
The project fell under Category ‘A’, and as such needed appraisal at the Central level as per the General Conditions of EIA Notification, 2006.
The administrative sanction had been accorded by the government of Kerala for conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study of the new dam site area.