Once the waves of a Facebook controversy have subsided, an e-mail sent by Thrithala MLA V T Balram in support of finding alternatives rather than a new dam to sort out the Mullaperiyar issue triggered fresh rounds of debate over his constitutional abidance as state Assembly had earlier unanimously passed a resolution to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar.
The mail was sent in the wake of a get-together of writers, activists, farmers and people from all walks of life from Tamil Nadu and Kerala as part of an initiative for a people’s dialogue to resolve the issue organised jointly by Kottayam Public library and Uyir - a newly constituted Malayalam and Tamil activists’ cultural get-together.
He sent the mail to C P Roy, former chairman of Mullaperiyar agitation council, one of the active participants of the programme, after discussing the issue with poet D Vinayachandran. “I am happy to note that the enlightened representatives of various people’s movements of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are sharing their views to reach an amicable solution to the Mullaperiyar dispute. I feel that such an intervention is the need of the hour as the mutual trust and goodwill among the people of both the states are slowly eroding due to the hostile stands taken by vested interests of both sides,” the mail said.
“What we need is scientific and practical solutions to ensure the safety and water requirements of the people and a strong political will to implement them. In an age when the ill effects of big dams are being realised worldwide, we need a global perspective to address the Mullaperiyar issue. Building a new dam in place of an old and damaged one may seem as an easy solution, but may not be the most appropriate and acceptable one,” Balram pointed out in his mail.
However, when contacted Balram said that it was personal mail and could not be taken as an official statement. “I welcome the initiative by an academic forum to seek other options to resolve the conundrum. The Assembly passed the resolution in a peculiar situation and that does not mean we should no longer seek another solutions,” he said.
However, he also said that the solution should not be according to the feelings of the people but should be based on scientific findings. “I took the stand for a new dam in a larger platform. However, it is anti-democratic to ask me not to stand by a new alternative that could be more viable,” he told Express.
Balram’s action of posting the draft of a private bill, on various issues related to nurses’ demands and seeking corrective measures on them in Assembly, on Facebook had earlier drew flak from various corners.