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State to activate Dam Safety Authority

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State Government is rushing with measures to activate the Dam Safety Authority constituted under the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act in the wake of the recent Supreme Court verdict against it in the Mullaperiyar dispute with Tamil Nadu. In an article issued for publication on Saturday, Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran said the State would also appoint the best Constitution experts as its advocates to argue the case Tamil Nadu had filed against the legal validity of the law passed by the Kerala Assembly.

He described as untenable Tamil Nadu Government's argument that the Dam Safety Authority constituted by Kerala on February 18 this year was intended to sidestep the verdict of the Supreme Court nine days later. He said Kerala had no desire to deny Tamil Nadu water due to it under the agreement between the two States. The issue at Mullaperiyar was that of safety. The dam there had far outlived its life and there was serious concern among the people of the State whether it was safe to increase the reservoir level beyond the present maximum limit of 136 feet.

The Supreme Court's verdict for increasing the reservoir level to 142 feet was regrettable in the context of the age of the dam and the concerns about its safety. Increasing the level would endanger the lives of tens of thousands of people living downstream.

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