Amidst raging debates continuing over the Mullaperiyar Dam, the Left Democratic Front government on Tuesday made it clear that they are firm on their demand for a new reservoir considering the safety of the existing one and a Chief Minister-level meeting would be held next month to arrive at a consensus with Tamil Nadu over the issue.
Power Minister K Krishnankutty, who spoke on behalf of Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine in the Assembly, said that Kerala has always put forward the suggestion for a new dam with an aim to ensure the safety of life and property of the people of the state.
Water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala was the state's motto in this regard, he said during question hour.
For the construction of a new dam, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study should be conducted and the Union Ministry of Environmental and Forests had given conditional clearance for the Terms of Reference submitted by the state in this regard on November 14, 2018.
"Based on that, an environmental impact assessment study is progressing," the Minister said while answering a question raised by legislator Eldose P Kunnappillil (Congress).
The Power Minister admitted that the matter of the construction of a new dam was considered in various government and bureaucratic level meetings held between Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
"However, the meetings had failed to reach a consensus. A decision has been taken now to conduct a Chief Minister level meeting in December to resolve various issues regarding Mullaperiyar, including the construction of the new dam," Mr Krishnankutty said.
As per the existing rules and regulations, the clearance from the Union Ministry of Environmental and Forests, the permission of Tamil Nadu and the nod of the Supreme Court are needed for the construction of the new dam in Mullaperiyar, the Minister added.
The decades-long Mullaperiyar dam issue came to the fore again in recent days after Kerala had issued an order granting permission to Tamil Nadu for felling 15 trees downstream of Baby Dam at Mullaperiyar reservoir.
As the matter snowballed into a political controversy, the Kerala government froze the order, claiming that it was a bureaucratic level decision and the ministers had no knowledge about it.
It also maintained that the Left government would never do anything against the interests of the state.
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