Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday took strong exception to the National Disaster Management Authority forming a team of experts to draw up a contingency response plan for the Mullaperiyar Dam, saying it was nothing but "succumbing to the subterfuge" of Kerala.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she expressed her "shock" over NDMA under his chairmanship constituting a team of experts to formulate a Contingency Response Plan including "inundation and submergence models" in the event of possible scenarios like earthquakes and floods.
"This is nothing but succumbing to the subterfuge of the government of Kerala and to present a fait accompli to the Supreme Court and the Empowered Committee constituted by it," she said.
Demanding withdrawal of the office memorandum of the NDMA, Jayalalithaa said since the matter was pending in the Supreme Court and the Empowered Committee constituted by it looking into various aspects including the dam's safety, constituting an NDMA experts team "is not warranted at this stage."
She asserted that the apex court had already decided in 2006 that the dam was safe and permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the water level to 142 ft initially.
Jayalalithaa's missive comes amid an unending war of words between leaders of both states over Kerala's insistence on demolishing the 116-year old dam citing safety concerns which, Tamil Nadu opposes.
The Empowered Committee had conducted various tests and was in the process of conducting various other tests and was expected to submit its report to the Supreme Court in February 2012, Jayalalithaa noted.
"That being the case, the government of Kerala, in order to circumvent the legal process, had approached the NDMA to formulate a contingency response plan in case of a disaster which is a figment of imagination," she charged.
Jayalalithaa said the "objective of Government of Kerala appears to be a calculated attempt to pressure the Empowered Committee to declare the dam unsafe."
She also questioned the induction of DK Paul of Earthquake Engineering Department of IIT Roorkee in the NDMA team, holding there was every possibility his allegedly "untested views will influence the team of experts of NDMA."
She pointed out that Kerala's proposal to make Paul a witness in the pending suit, had not been taken cognisense of by the Supreme Court.
"I, therefore, request you to order the withdrawal of the office memorandum of the NDMA dated December 12, 2011, forthwith," she said.