New Delhi, Dec 2: With the deadlock over the Mullaperiyar Dam persisting, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy pressed for a new dam while AIADMK MPs from Tamil Nadu sought their neighbouring state not spread panic as both met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the issue Friday.
‘I would request the Kerala MPs and leader not to spread panic amidst people of Kerala and the whole nation as if the dam is not safe,’ said M.Thambidurai, the AIADMK’s leader in the Lok Sabha, after the meeting with the prime minister.
He said the issue was highlighted by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa and the same message was conveyed by the MPs’ delegation to the prime minister.
‘We requested him (prime minister) not to have our Kerala brothers propagate and give wrong impression among the people of Kerala that the dam is unsafe as this creates unnecessary panic among the people of Kerala,’ he told reporters.
Chandy also met Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to drum up support for a new dam, but Tamil nadu is opposed to a new dam fearing it will have no administrative control over it.
In his meetings with both Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi, Chandy conveyed that he was not against giving water to Tamil Nadu, but at the same time argued that a new dam was needed as the 115-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam was frequently hit by tremors.
‘Our concern is about the safety of the people and we are never against giving water to Tamil Nadu,’ Chandy stressed.
‘Our approach is very clear. We have to take care of people’s safety. We are ready for open discussion.’
Tamil Nadu wants the dam’s storage capacity to be increased by raising the dam height – from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet growing irrigation needs in the state.
Kerala, on the other hand, wants a new dam as it fears that a strong earthquake might damage the existing dam and cause widespread destruction.
Early this week, the MPs from both Tamil Nadu and Kerala met Manmohan Singh and sought his intervention to resolve the complex issue.
Manmohan Singh had assured a delegation of Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu that a meeting of the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala would be arranged soon to discuss the contentious issue.