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'TN has to accept Kerala's dam demand'

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Monday said political leaders in Tamil Nadu, belonging to rival fronts, would finally have to yield to Kerala's demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar.

india Updated: Oct 19, 2009 20:18 IST

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan on Monday said political leaders in Tamil Nadu, belonging to rival fronts, would finally have to yield to Kerala's demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar.

"What we see today is the rival fronts' politicians in Tamil Nadu blaming Kerala, which is only understandable and this is in a way cheating the people of both the states. Kerala will certainly continue to give water to Tamil Nadu as is being done, even when the new dam comes up," Achuthanandan told reporters here.

His statement comes as Lal Bahadur Shastri Centre for Science and Technology and the Kerala Water Authority, led by chief engineer George Daniel, began the survey for the new dam at the Periyar Wild Life Reserve in Idukki district.

Speaking to reporters at the survey site, Daniel said they expect the survey to be completed in three months' time.

The survey team will also do soil testing at the proposed site of the dam which is around 300 metres away from the present Mullaperiyar dam.

Last week, Achuthanandan wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking his intervention to rein in Tamil Nadu in the matter of construction of a new Mullaperiyar dam.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the present dam built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then maharaja of Travancore and the British administration.

While the dam is located in Kerala's Idukki district, it serves Tamil Nadu. In recent years, Tamil Nadu has demanded that the storage capacity of the dam be raised from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation.

However, in June, the Kerala assembly passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the central government allow the state to construct a new dam at Mullaperiyar and decommission the existing one.

Recently Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh had given the nod for conducting a survey at Mullaperiyar for a new dam.

In 1979, the Central Water Resources Commission had identified the place where the new dam is to be built.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu's petition to stop the survey comes up at the Supreme Court on Wednesday.