Kerala Kaumudi Online
Wednesday, 19 January 2022 2.05 PM IST

Mullaperiyar issue should not be politicized in Assembly, govt is of the view that new dam should be built, says Minister Roshy Augustine; opposition stages walkout


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Opposition Congress-led UDF on Monday took on the ruling LDF in the Kerala Assembly over the Mullaperiyar dam issue, alleging that the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government has failed in dam management.

It also claimed that the government failed to raise in the Supreme Court the demand for a new dam in the wake of occurrences of continuous floods and landslides in the state.

Seeking permission to introduce an adjournment motion on the issue, former leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the government has failed to keep the water level in the 126-year-old dam low.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan rejected the allegations, saying his government handled the Mullaperiyar issue through consensus. He said a little deviation from it is not good for the state.

Responding to the charges, the Chief Minister said both Kerala and Tamil Nadu should live like brothers and the Mullaperiyar issue can be solved only by consensus.

Reiterating the state's demand for a new dam in Mullaperiyar for the safety of the people of the state, he also urged the opposition not to create unnecessary tension over the issue.

Vijayan also justified his statement last week warning legal action against those involved in creating panic among people, saying what he said was not to spread unnecessary panic that the dam was going to burst.

Chennithala alleged that Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine was speaking like his Tamil Nadu counterpart on Mullaperiyar issue and blamed the government for not taking a stand on the matter.

In his reply, Augustine accused Chennithala of trying to distort the facts on the issue.

He said the government was of the view that the new dam should be built at Mullaperiyar. The state has informed this to the Centre and the Court several times, the minister said.
Augustine also rejected the allegations that the government has failed in dam management.

Noting that the government has the capacity to build a new dam at Mullaperiyar, the minister said all efforts will be made for the same.

He said the state should ensure the safety of its people and Tamil Nadu should be given enough water.

The minister also said no impression should be created that there was a dispute with Tamil Nadu on the issue.

Considering the government's stand on the issue, the chair rejected the Opposition's demand to introduce the adjournment motion.

Speaking ahead of staging the walkout, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan said the government should be ready to prepare short and long term plans to solve the Mullaperiyar problem.

He alleged that the government representative in the Supreme Court expert panel accepted Tamil Nadu's opinion that the water level in the dam should be raised to 139.5 feet and it was against the state's interest.

Satheesan also alleged that the government failed to raise the demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar in the Supreme Court in the wake of continuous floods and landslides after 2018.

Last week, the Supreme Court directed Tamil Nadu and Kerala to abide by the water level notified by the expert committee as per which it would be maintained at 139.5 feet till November 10.
The shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala, operated by Tamil Nadu, were raised as the water level in the reservoir crossed 138 feet.

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