CHENNAI: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan’s announcement of Kerala’s proposal to build a new dam in place of the existing Mullaperiyar Dam has sparked strong reactions from political parties in Tamil Nadu. TN Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said the move amounted to contempt of court.
In a statement, Duraimurugan said the Supreme Court’s May 7, 2014 order ruled that the existing dam was sound in all respects. He also said there was no need for a new dam and clarified that the Kerala government could not impose the new dam project on Tamil Nadu. “The Kerala government’s unilateral announcement to build a new dam is unacceptable. The government of Tamil Nadu will oppose it in every way. The rights of Tamil Nadu will not be given up under any pretext,” the minister said. In his ‘political address’ to the Kerala assembly, ahead of the budget session, Khan said: ‘We believe that the capacity of the dam should not exceed 136 feet of storage. As Kerala is committed to providing water to Tamil Nadu while saving the lives of its people, it has proposed to build a new dam in place of the existing dam, which is about a century and a quarter old.
Expressing shock at the governor’s announcement, AIADMK coordinator O Panneerselvam said Tamil Nadu faces neighbor problems whenever the DMK is in power. During the previous DMK government in Tamil Nadu, the Congress led UPA at the Center sanctioned a study to build a new dam on the site of the existing dam. The “minority DMK” government did not protest, but due to the strong objection of the late AIADMK general secretary and former CM J Jayalalithaa, the project could not get off the ground, he said.