Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi Palaniswami has written to the Prime Minister requesting his personal intervention in the issue concerning the Environmental Impact Assessment Study for the construction of a new dam in Mullaperiyar.
Palaniswami's letter came after the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change granted Terms of Reference for an Environmental Impact Assessment study in Mullaperiyar for the construction of a new dam. The Ministry however had made it clear that the grant of ToR is subjected to any direction given by the Supreme Court or National Green Tribunal.
In his two-page letter, the Chief Minister has referred to the Supreme Court order from 2014 in which it had stated that if a new dam was to be constructed in Mullaperiyar, then it has to be done with the agreement of both Tamil Nadu and Kerala. â€śIn this view of the matter for the construction of new dam, there has to be agreement of both the parties. The offer made by Kerala cannot be thrusted upon Tamil Nadu,â€ť read the part of the SC order which emphasises this point.
â€śThe actions of the Government of Kerala in having approached the Government of India and the Government of India having entertained the proposal of Kerala are in gross violation of the decree of the Honâ€™ble Supreme Court,â€ť the letter said.
On September 27, the government of Kerala had approached the union government regarding the new dam, again. The expert appraisal committee of the ministry had then accepted the Kerala government's proposal for a study on the new dam at the cost of Rs 663 crore.
The TN Chief Minister also mentioned a similar proposal by the Kerala government which was delisted by the Central government after the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J Jayalalithaa wrote to the Prime Minister, pointing out the illegality of the project.
Requesting the Prime Minister to personally intervene and and direct the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to withdraw the recommendations to grant Terms of Reference for the Environmental Impact study in Mullaperiyar, the Chief Minister also requested Narendra Modi to discourage similar proposals from Kerala government.
â€śI also request you to advise the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and its Agencies to desist from entertaining and considering any proposal of the Government of Kerala on new Mullai Periyar Dam in future and also to negate the proposals which are in violation of the orders of the Honâ€™ble Supreme Court,â€ť he said.
Other political parties in Tamil Nadu including the DMK, MDMK and PMK too have opposed the feasibility study. "They are not even letting us construct a baby dam (auxilliary dam) and said that environment will be affected. But to build a new dam in Kerala, they have no environmental concerns? How did they (Central govt) give permission?," DMK's Duraimurugan asked.