CUMBUM: The five-member sub-committee constituted by the Supreme Court-appointed supervisory panel cancelled the inspection of the Mullaiperiyar dam after Kerala forest officials allegedly asked the Tamil Nadu members of the panel to produce their identity cards and sign their register to visit the dam in Thekkady on Tuesday, a senior Tamil Nadu PWD officer has said.
The sub-committee headed by Central Water Commission Executive Engineer Umberji Harish Girish, along with Tamil Nadu representatives — PWD Mullaiperiyar dam Executive Engineer A Madhavan, Assistant Executive Engineer A Soundaram--and Kerala Irrigation Department Executive Engineer George Daniel and Assistant Engineer N S Praseed, assembled at the boat jetty in Thekkady to visit the dam.
“But Kerala forest officials demanded to produce our identity cards and sign their register to board the boat,” the senior PWD officer said. However, refusing to sign the register, the TN representatives raised the issue with sub-committee head Umberji Harish Girish, who cancelled the inspection after informing Mullaiperiyar Committee Chairman LAV Nathan. The sub-committee was formed to monitor the increase in the water level in the dam to 142 feet, as well as the maintenance carried out by TN PWD engineers at the dam.
Meanwhile, the Kerala representatives George Daniel and N S Praseed along with 15 engineers tried to visit the dam through the Vallakadavu route in the Periyar Tiger Reserve forest. “But we refused to allow them inside the dam, asking them to come along with all sub-committee members for the inspection,” said another PWD officer.
The PWD officials also asked the Kerala police on security duty at the dam not to allow them inside. “Only after we warned the Kerala police that we would write to the government to take legal action against them did they send them back,” claimed the PWD officer.