After drawing much flak for his earlier alleged comment that the Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki is safe, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan -at a press conference in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday- reiterated that the long drawn-out dam issue between Kerala and Tamil Nadu could be resolved only through amicable talks and not sustained hostility between the neighbouring states.
Even though the 121-year old dam is built on the Periyar river in Kerala, a 999-year lease contract -signed by the then Maharaja of Travancore with the British government to provide water for irrigation purposes to the erstwhile Madras Presidency- handed over the ownership, operation and maintenance of the dam to the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
Speaking to reporters, Pinarayi said that Keralaâ€™s safety concerns with respect to the dam will definitely be addressed and that there would be no compromise in this regard. He however pointed out that even if a new dam had to be built, it could not be constructed without the Centreâ€™s permission or the support of Tamil Nadu.
With Tamil Nadu deeming the dam safe, Kerala raising questions on the safety aspect and the Supreme Court ruling in TNâ€™s favour, the need of the hour â€“he stressed- was to arrive at a compromise agreeable to both sides.
And for that, a committee comprising international experts should review the dam, and based on their recommendations, a permanent solution should be formulated, he felt.
Pinarayi told reporters that he had also spoken to the Mullaperiyar Samara Samithi which too was in favour of the setting up of such a committee. He added that since there was no fresh development to be discussed regarding the dam, an all-party meeting at this juncture would serve no purpose, thereby rebuffing the state Congress party's demand for the same.