Mullaperiyar Dam: SC To Hear Matter On March 31 As Tamil Nadu Says Dialogue On
The Supreme Court today said it would hear the Mullaperiyar Dam matter on March 31 after the Tamil Nadu government informed it that they have had some dialogue on the issue which is going on.
"We understand the complexities of it. We can give time", a Bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice A S Oka and Justice C T Ravikumar, said after Senior Advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, requested that the matter be heard on Thursday.
The Apex Court is hearing arguments on the pleas raising issues pertaining to the Mullaperiyar Dam, which was built in 1895 on the Periyar river in Idukki district of Kerala. At the outset, Tamil Nadu's counsel told the Bench that the matter be taken up for hearing on Thursday. "We have had some dialogue and it is on", he said.
Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing for Kerala, said that Tamil Nadu has given them something and they are working on it.
"They have given us something. We are working on it. We will give it to them. It will take just a little longer than we thought", Gupta said.
No issues, the Bench said and posted the matter for hearing on March 31.
On March 24, the Court had suggested to Tamil Nadu and Kerala that issues regarding structural safety of the 126-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam can be left to be dealt with by the supervisory committee which can be strengthened.
The Apex Court had observed that issue raised by Kerala, which has said that process for setting up a new dam in the downstream reaches of the existing dam should start, can be debated, discussed and resolved by the supervisory committee which can make its recommendation on this.
The Bench had observed that a holistic approach should be adopted and a comprehensive measure should be there to strengthen the system.
The counsel appearing for Tamil Nadu had told the bench that he would take instructions on this issue as these are sensitive matters. He had said the state of Tamil Nadu is interested in retaining the dam .
The Bench had said the issue is affecting both the states and they can work out a mechanism so that interest of both the sides is secured and nobody blames each other.
The counsel appearing for Kerala had last week told the bench that the process for setting up a new dam in the downstream reaches of the existing dam should start and the upper rule level of Mullaperiyar Dam should be 140 feet and not 142 feet.
The Kerala government had earlier told the apex court that "no amount of rejuvenation" can perpetuate the dam and there is a limit to the number of years one can keep dams in service through maintenance and strengthening measures.
In its response to the affidavit filed by Kerala, the state of Tamil Nadu had earlier said that repeated assertion of Kerala and petitioners from there in the pleas filed from time to time seek to decommission of the existing dam and construction of a new dam, which is wholly impermissible in the light of the Apex Court verdict on the safety of the dam.
"The dam has been found to be hydrologically, structurally, and seismically safe", Tamil Nadu had said.
With PTI inputs