Wishesh Analysis: Mullai dam, bone of contention for TN & Kerala

November 30, 2011 09:36
Wishesh Analysis: Mullai dam, bone of contention for TN & Kerala

The Mullai Periyar Dam has been a vital thorn in the relationship between the Tamil Nadu (TN) and Kerala and the Prime Minister (PM) Dr. Manmohan Singh planed to intervene and discuss the action plan with the leaders of both the states to settle the issue amicably. In his meetings with delegations of leaders from TN and Kerala, PM on Tuesday indicated that he would convene a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the two States soon to hammer out a solution.

The leaders from TN told the PM that Kerala should not be allowed to construct a new dam near the 116-year-old existing structure. They also asked the PM to personally intervene in the issue, which was in the limelight in the wake of reports that the dam was weakening due to increase in incidents of tremor in the Idduki district in Kerala.

The leaders of Kerala also met the PM. Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi, who is from Kerala told press after his meeting with the PM, reporters that the PM assured the delegation he would look into the matter to help sort things out between the two states at the earliest. `The PM heard us out and assured us that he would look into the issue,’ he said, adding that the central government is also working to settle the issue through a meeting between the chief ministers of Kerala and TN.

TN plans to have the dam wall increased to 142 feet from the existing 136 feet, and Kerala wants it reduced to 120 feet, but has offered the construction of a new dam to meet the needs of its neighboring state. However, TN is opposing the move, worried that it may lose control over the dam's functioning. Concerns in Kerala stem from questions about the dam's ability to withstand high magnitude earthquakes and the possible impact of such natural disasters on the lives of over three million people in the state's Idukki, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Pathanamthitta districts.

If history had to be believed TN was so attached to the Kerala state that even to this day the hotels in the state are largely following the Udupi cuisine. And one famous Chief Minister of TN, was originally from that state, who till date has been adored as God, by the masses for his populist policies. And the public still believe his rule till death was the golden era of the state. But since the last decade there has been periodic eruption of this Dam issue in the public. The dam in contention is over hundred years old had been originated in the treaty between the Madras regime and the Travancore leaders way back. An interesting survey reveals that the issue erupts in September and reaches its peak in December and slowly subsides in January only to emerge again in its cycle.

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