Forest department officials of Kerala have prevented a lorry laden with cement bags meant for plugging of holes in the Mullaiperiyar dam carried out by Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.
The lorry was stopped at the Periyar Tiger Sanctuary check post located at around 7 km from the dam.
The Kerala officials reportedly objected to the movement of cement laden lorry, pointing out that the use of cement at the dam site would cause damage to the environment and the wildlife.
Rajesh, Executive Engineer of the Mullaiperiyar Dam Special division of the Public Works department of Tamil Nadu, rushed to the check-post and demanded the reason for refusal in writing. Otherwise, the lorry should be permitted to proceed, he insisted. Since the Forest officials refused to oblige to his request, the lorry remained parked near the check post.
It may be recalled the work of plugging the holes, drilled in the structure of the dam for collecting samples of materials used to construct the dam by the Supreme Court panel, started after initial protest by Kerala Government officials. Kerala relented after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in this connection.
Kerala Gives New Twist
A team of officials from Kerala, led by Mullaiperiyar Special Cell chairman M K Parameswaran Nair, alleged that the Tamil Nadu Government was trying to strengthen the Mullaiperiyar Dam on the pretext of plugging the holes drilled for collecting the samples of the materials used for the construction of the dam.
The team had inspected the work of plugging the holes drilled in the dam on Monday. They also enquired about the materials used to plug the holes and the machines used to do the work.
The team left the dam after inspecting the site for around two hours.
Talking to reporters at Thekkady after visiting the dam, Parameswaran Nair said that only 154 bags of cement were needed to fill the boreholes while the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department (PWD) officials have stored nearly a thousand bags of cement.
The Supreme Court has clearly said that the Tamil Nadu Government could undertake maintenance work in the dam but should not strengthen it, he added. But the Tamil Nadu officials were using machines to apply the cement mixture in high pressure, while the work could be carried out in the conventional way, he added.
“We will inform the SC about the Tamil Nadu Government’s efforts in strengthening the dam instead of doing maintenance work”, he added.
“We have conveyed the issue of stocking more number of cement bags than the number needed, to the Tamil Nadu Government also,” he added.