Kerala commited to build new dam at Mullaperiyar

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala today affirmed its commitment to build a new dam at Mullaperiyar in place of the 116-year old structure,saying its resolve to do so is based on the principle of `water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala`.

Governor H R Bhardwaj in his address to the legislative assembly to mark the start of budget session, said the issue relating to the dam over which Kerala has a long standing dispute with Tamil Nadu is the foremost crisis the UDF government has had to face since coming to power in May 2011.

He said Kerala is keen to preserve and foster the long standing cordial relations between both states and that the state welcomes an amicable resolution to the crisis.

"On this issue, the state has shown solidarity and unanimity in its stand on construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar, rising above partisan considerations," he said.

The Governor pointed out the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has formulated a crisis management plan for the dam in the wake of `grave risks` arising from its safety .

Kerala is insisting on construction of a new dam, arguing that the present structure in Idukki,bordering the two states, is weak. But Tamil Nadu, which gets water from the dam to irrigate five districts, is opposed to this stand,holding that it is strong as the state has taken up peridical maintenance.

The dispute is now before the Supreme Court, which has appointed an Empowered Committee to examine the safety and other aspects of the present dam.