TN CM urges PM to rethink Kerala’s proposal for new dam


The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, opposing the centre’s nod to Kerala’s proposal to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment Study for construction of a new dam in place of the existing Mullaperiyar reservoir.

Opposition parties too hit out at the centre over the issue, with principal opposition party DMK urging the state government to file a case against the Environment Ministry.

In his letter, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said a committee under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had last month recommended for grant of Terms of Reference of Kerala’s proposal to conduct the Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the construction of a new dam.

“This has caused great apprehension and consternation among the people of Tamil Nadu,” he said, adding that the move violated the Supreme Court order on the issue over which the two states are locked in dispute.

Mr Palaniswami said the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley and Hydro Electric Projects had made the recommendation at a meeting on September 27.

The Kerala government approaching the centre on the issue and the latter entertaining it were “in gross violation of the decree” of the Supreme Court on the inter-state dispute, the chief minister said.

Quoting from the May 2014 court verdict, he said: “For the construction of a new dam, there has to be agreement of both the parties. The offer made by Kerala cannot be thrust upon Tamil Nadu.”

He also said Kerala had in August 2014 “stealthily” obtained clearance for such a study for the construction of a new dam without informing or consulting Tamil Nadu or obtaining its concurrence on the matter.

This was “in utter defiance” of the court decree, he said and recalled that Tamil Nadu had to later issue a contempt notice against the member-secretary of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife and Wildlife Preservation Officer.

He drew PM Modi’s attention to the letter sent by then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in June 2015, seeking his intervention to instruct the Environment Ministry and its agencies to “desist from entertaining and considering” Kerala’s proposal in future.

Following this, the centre had delisted Kerala’s proposal in July 2015, he said.