CUMBUM: A day after preventing PWD officials from Tamil Nadu from proceeding to the Mullaiperiyar Dam for maintenance work, Kerala Forest officials stopped a National Security Guards (NSG) team and asked for to produce their identity cards, while they were proceeding for an inspection of the Mullaiperiyar dam in Thekkady, on Tuesday.
The four-member team of the Central force including Chief Commandant Mohan and Senior Commandants Vijay and Raghunathan, along with Tamil Nadu PWD senior officials - Mullaiperiyar dam executive engineer A Madhavan, assistant executive engineer A Soundaram, sub-divisional officer Akbar Ali and Engineer Ramamurthy - were stopped at the jetty around 11 am by Thekkady forest ranger Sanjeevan and his team.
Despite the NSG members telling the Kerala Forest officials that they had come to inspect the security arrangements at the dam, the latter did not allow them to enter the jetty. “Instead, the Kerala Forest officials asked them to produce their identity cards and authorisation letters to allow them to inspect the dam,” said a senior PWD official, requesting anonymity.
“The Kerala Forest officials stood their ground even after the Commandants tried their best to explain them about the purpose of their visit. They adopted the same strategy they had been following with the TN PWD officials for the past one week, and humiliated them in front of us,” official sources said.
The NSG team was here to assess the existing security arrangements made by the Kerala police at the dam site, besides evolving steps to improve the security by deploying Central forces. The NSA team made a similar visit two years ago, said senior PWD officials.
The Kerala officials made the NSG team to wait for nearly three hours. Only after the matter was taken up with Sanjayan Kumar, Deputy Director of Periyar Tiger Reserve, Sanjeevan allowed the NSG team to visit the dam, but refused to allow the TN PWD officials.
But the NSG team decided not to visit the dam without the PWD officials and returned. “The NSG team members will be here for the next three days to carry out an inspection of the dam,” said a senior PWD official.
Commenting on Tuesday’s incident, Mullaiperiyar Dam Monitoring Committee Chairman LAV Nathan told Express, “I came to know about Tuesday’s incident. I will take it up immediately with V J Kurian, Additional Chief Secretary, Kerala Government, also a member of the monitoring committee.”