CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Durai Murugan on Thursday urged his Kerala counterpart Roshy Augustine to restore permission given for felling 15 trees in Mullaiperiyar dam site to carry out strengthening works as per the directive of the Supreme Court. This request has been pending for a long time, Durai Murugan pointed out.
The Tamil Nadu minister said the Water Resources Department and the Forest Department of Kerala have been delaying permission to convey the materials and machinery to the dam site for carrying out routine maintenance works and repair works. These works have to be done as per the guidelines of the Central Water Commission, as well as in compliance with the orders of the SC dated February 27, 2006, and May 7, 2014.
Durai Murugan said the Kerala government should revoke its order dated November 11, 2021, at the earliest and restore the permission issued for the felling of 15 trees since this is essential for carrying out the remaining strengthening works.
Durai Murugan also recalled that the Kerala government has been requesting the installation of a seismograph and accelerograph in the dam site, which was also recommended by the Central Water Commission. Though the instruments are ready to be installed through the National Geo-physical Research Institute, Hyderabad, the Forest Department of Kerala has not permitted the transport of materials for erecting necessary platforms/pillars for installing the seismograph.
Durai Murugan sought the Kerala Water Resources Minister’s personal intervention on these matters and urged him to instruct the officers concerned to allow materials to be conveyed through the forest road, Vallakkadavu dam site. He also sought a positive and urgent response from the Kerala minister on the above issues.
Durai Murugan pointed out that Mullaiperiyar is vital for the farmers in five drought-prone districts of Tamil Nadu - Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram - to meet drinking and irrigation needs and for their livelihood. Therefore, the farmers of these districts are very sensitive to the availability of water from the Mullaiperiyar dam. The government of Tamil Nadu is taking utmost care in maintaining the dam well considering the safety and security of the people of both states, he added.