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State firm on decommissioning dam

Special Correspondent


VS to meet Prime Minister on Saturday

MPs from State to be apprised of issue


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Given the present condition of the Mullaperiyar dam, the State is of the firm view that it should be decommissioned forthwith, the State government said in a press release on Wednesday.

The release is based on the assessment of a high-level meeting convened by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan here to discuss the report of an expert committee constituted by the government to study the condition of the dam.

Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran, the members of the Mullaperiyar expert committee and the advisory committee on inter-State water sharing issues were present at the meeting.

The expert committee had reported that the cracks found on the dam when the water level descended to the level of 109 feet during this summer had to be taken very seriously.

No grouting or other strengthening work had ever been done below the level of 112 feet on the lime-and-granite structure of the dam since its commissioning more than a century ago.

“The expert committee reports that the cracks and fissures below the level of 112 feet were so grave that water could seep into the structure. The condition at lower levels could be still more serious. There is absolutely no option other than decommissioning the dam and simultaneously building another dam so that Tamil Nadu continues to benefit from the water stored in the reservoir,” Mr. Premachandran said after the meeting.

The entire water from the Mullaperiyar reservoir, situated in the State’s Idukki district, goes to Tamil Nadu to irrigate large tracts of agriculture land there.

The Chief Minister, along with Mr. Premachandran, would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday to apprise the Union government about the situation. The Chief Minister is also calling a meeting of MPs from the State in New Delhi on that day to explain the issue.

The State will also present the matter before all other members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, Mr. Premachandran said.

He said the State could never go back on its commitment to provide water to the farmers of Tamil Nadu.

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