Sunday, 11 December 2011

Mullaperiyar dam safe

The politicians in the state led by the water resources minister, Mr P.J. Joseph, rubbished the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Ms J. Jayalalithaa’s claim that the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam was safe. Mr Joseph termed Ms Jayalalithaa’s appeal as distortion of facts. He challenged her statement that the demand to reduce water level was to save the land mafia. “It is unfortunate that she has questioned the real intention of the people in Kerala,” he said. “People are agitated because of the dangers that the dam poses to them. We are confident that the apex court will allow us to reduce the water level from present 136 to 120 ft.” In a full page advertisement in English dailies, Ms Jayalalithaa said that the Mullaperiyar dam was safe. “It is designed to absorb moderate flood up to 4,00,000 cusecs,” she said. “Human settlement in the area is much above the reach of the flood waters of Mullaperiyar. Only illegal resorts by land gabbers will get submerged when storage is raised. Some cite this as a reason for the plea against the dam.” The finance minister, Mr K.M. Mani, also slammed Ms Jayalalitha’s appeal. He said that the State did not require her permission to construct the dam at Mullaperiyar. “When it comes to safety of the people there is no need to look into other issues,’’ he said. The Kerala Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on Friday demanding a new dam at Mullaperiyar and also urged the Tamil Nadu Government to lower the water level from the present 136 ft to 120 ft. The state is worried that a strong earthquake might damage the dam and cause widespread destruction. Experts in Kerala say that damage to Mullaperiyar dam could pose danger to the lives of over 30 lakh people living downstream.

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