Thiruvananthapuram, June 8 (IANS) The Congress in Kerala has asked the Pinarayi Vijayan government to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the concerns raised after the Chief Minister’s reported statement that the Mullaperiyar dam is safe.
In a letter to the chief minister, state Congress president V.M. Sudheeran said there has been a lot of confusion over Vijayan’s statement which he made in Delhi in May.
“Even though you have clarified on it, doubts still linger… So in order to reinforce the various unanimous resolutions that our assembly has passed on our concerns about the safety of the dam, we request you to immediately call an all-party meeting to reiterate the state’s consistent stand,” Sudheeran stated in the letter.
This demand comes at a time when the leaders of the Kerala opposition, led by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala met Vijayan last week and conveyed their concerns.
At a meeting with reporters in Delhi last month, the Chief Minister had reportedly claimed that the safety of the dam was not an issue. However, following an outcry from the Congress, Vijayan later modified his statement.
Over the years, unanimous resolutions were passed in the Kerala assembly that the dam is a serious threat to the safety of the people.
A Supreme Court directive in May 2014 had allowed neighbouring state Tamil Nadu to increase the water level of the dam from 136 feet to a maximum of 142 feet.
Observers here said Vijayan’s statement in Delhi will in effect boost the stand taken by the Tamil Nadu government, which will approach the apex court to increase the water level from 142 feet to 152 feet.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 agreement between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British regime.
Though the dam is located in Kerala, it is owned, maintained and operated by Tamil Nadu.
Kerala has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam that has developed leaks.