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Blame game begins over Mullaperiyar dam verdict

Posted on May 11 2014 | IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, May 11 : The blame game over the Supreme Court's verdict striking down the 2006 Kerala act which restricted the water level in Mullaperiyar dam took a turn Sunday with a state minister questioning the sincerity of a member, appointed in the empowered committee on the dam.

State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph came down heavily on Justice (retd) K.T. Thomas, who had welcomed the apex court's verdict last week.

"It was not fair on the part of Thomas to say like that and hence one has to suspect his actions," Joseph told reporters.

"I was put in the empowered committee which was a fact finding mission and not meant to bat for Kerala. For that, Kerala's counsel should have argued. Expert opinions have shown that this dam was reinforced three times and that's a very successful technique and is being used to protect old buildings. The dam's safety was also vouched by experts," said Thomas.

The apex court shot down Kerala's demand for a new dam and ruled that the dam was safe, contrary to the claims of Kerala, which said the 119-year-old dam was leaking and should be decommissioned.

"It was the apex court that asked Kerala to nominate one person to the empowered committee and that's how Thomas became a member," said former Idukki MP Francis George.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the Mullaperiyar dam, built under an 1886 agreement between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj.

While the dam is located in Kerala, its waters serve Tamil Nadu. Kerala is seeking a new dam and has offered to build and fund it but Tamil Nadu has not agreed to this and has been engaged in a long and protracted legal battle.

This issue would now come up at the all-party meeting called here Monday by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to discuss what needs to be done as the government has already decided to file a review petition.

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