A day after the Kerala assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding that a new dam be built to replace the Mullaperiyar dam, Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa assured the people of Kerala that the 116-year-old structure was "safe".
In full-page advertisements in major dailies on Saturday, Jayalalithaa appealed to the people to see through the "machinations of vested interests and divisive forces in both states".
"The Mullaperiyar dam is fully safe and as good as new… It is not a threat to the lives and properties of the people of the region," she said in the ad.
She also claimed that the land mafia was behind the move to reduce water level in the dam.
"The water spread area has been encroached upon by land grabbers in Kerala who have built resorts and other buildings... If the water level is increased, these resorts will get submerged... this is also cited as the possible reason for the plea to decommission the dam."
Kerala water resources minister PJ Joseph slammed Jayalalithaa's land mafia claims as distortion of facts. "We are concerned about the safety of our people and committed to build a new dam," he said.
Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Lower Camp district on Tamil Nadu's border with Kerala as over 4,000 villagers marched against the alleged attacks on Tamils in Kerala in the wake of the escalation of the dam row.