New Delhi, Dec 5: A two-member team of the Supreme Court-appointed empowered committee on Mullaperiyar Dam dispute will visit the dam site this month to carry out an on-the-spot assessment of the claims made by Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The decision to send two members of the five-member committee was taken today when the empowered panel met with lawyers representing the two states making representations on their stands and asking it to hear them before submitting its report.
“Yes, two members (of the committee) will be visiting the Mullaperiyar dam site later this month. The committee will meet again on January two and three to discuss their findings,” said a senior official attached to the committee.
The dates of the visit, which are agreeable to the two states, will be decided later this week. The committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India A S Anand, is expected to submit its report on the controversial issue by February.
At today's meeting, Kerala submitted a memorandum before the committee stating that frequent tremors in Idduki district, where the 116-year-old structure is located, was causing damage to the dam and that the state should be heard before the report is finalised. Kerala wants that a new dam should be constructed to replace the old structure, claiming that it is essential to prevent a disaster.
Tamil Nadu told the panel that there was no need for a new dam and that the water level of the existing dam should be raised from the present 136 ft to 142 ft as per a 2006 Supreme Court directive.
In Chennai, ) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said the Centre was yet to respond to her request for deployment of CISF personnel at the Mullaperiyar dam site in Kerala to avert any “man-made catastrophic consequences” in view of protests.
“I have written to the Prime Minister to provide CISF protection, but not received any response (so far),” she told reporters here.
The AIADMK supremo in her third letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue in less than a fortnight sought immediate security cover by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) citing reports of mob vandalism organised by certain political parties at the dam area in Idukki District.
In her earlier letters, Jayalalithaa had asked Singh to intervene and advise Kerala to desist from creating fear psychosis on the dam issue.
Kerala has mounted pressure for building a new dam in place of the 116-year old Mullaperiyar reservoir in the wake of increase in water level and some recent tremors in the region, but Tamil Nadu has stoutly opposed any such move saying the structure was safe.
When asked whether a special assembly session would be convened in Tamil Nadu also as was being done in Kerala, she replied in the negative.”At the moment I don't think it is necessary because we are all united in our stand.”
DMK chief M Karunanidhi in a rare show of solidarity with arch-rival AIADMK had yesterday pressed for deployment of CISF forces to replace Kerala state police personnel.
The DMK patriarch also accused Kerala of attempting to distract the issue by ‘creating fear and panic' in the minds of people which he said should be stopped immediately. On beefing up of security in the border area, Jayalalithaa said forces had been deployed from both the states at the border.
To a question about reports that the long-pending issue was being raked up because of an assembly byelection in Kerala, the Chief Minister said she was not aware of any such thing.