With the deadlock persisting over the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy on Friday met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and stressed that a new dam was needed for the safety of Kerala people.
Chandy conveyed to Gandhi that he was not against giving water to Tamil Nadu, but at the same time argued that a new dam was needed as the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam was frequently hit by tremors.
He is also expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and convey Kerala's standpoint on the dam issue which has become a point of friction with Tamil Nadu.
In an interview to a TV channel, he underlined that the safety of Kerala people was his overriding concern.
"The continuous earthquake (the Mullaperiyar dam is subject to) - that is the main concern which is bothering Kerala," Chandy said in an interview with a news channel.
"Our concern is about the safety of the people and we are never against giving water to Tamil Nadu," Chandy stressed.
"Our approach is very clear. We have to take care of people's safety. We are ready for open discussion."
Tamil Nadu wants the dam's storage capacity to be increased by raising the dam height - from 136 feet (41.5m) to 142 feet (43m) to meet growing irrigation needs in the state.
Kerala, on the other hand, wants a new dam as it fears that a strong earthquake might damage the existing dam.