CHENNAI: Pooh-poohing the Kerala government’s claim about the safety of the Mullaiperiyar Dam, a group of engineers here on Friday termed that State’s claims ‘intellectual dishonesty’ and ‘technical fraud’.Participating in a discussion on ‘Mullai Periyar999: The Truth and Lies’ organised by Land & Water Society and Naam Thamizh Makkal Peravai here, R Veerappan, retired Chief Engineer of Public Works Department (PWD), Tamil Nadu, said, “The hue and cry by the Kerala government and the local people is nothing but a stage-managed show with an ulterior motive.”“We challenge the Kerala government (and its engineers) to prove their claims on the safety of the Mullaiperiyar Dam. Let us have an open debate,” he said.He also countered the structural stability study report of IIT Roorkee, which concluded that the dam was likely to face damage if an earthquake of the magnitude of 6.5 on the Richter scale struck its vicinity when the water level is at 136 feet.“When the whole area in and around the dam falls in a seismic zone-III, where only an earthquake of 3.5 and 4.2 magnitude in the Richter scale can occur, how has report arrived at 6.5 Richter scale as a basis for the stability study,” Veerappan asked.Prof M Subramanian, chief advisor on Mullaiperiyar for Naam Thamizh Makkal Peravai, said, “The Kerala parties say two million lives are gravely at risk. But actually these so called million people live in the upstream areas of Mullaiperiyar.”In a statement released after a discussion, Naam Thamizh Makkal Peravai congratulated J Jayalalithaa for taking a firm stand on the Mullaiperiyar row.
In a statement released after a discussion on the Kerala government’s repeated lies about the safety of the dam here, the forum called upon all the political parties in the state to stand in one voice together to win over the rights over the dam.
“We suspect the real intention of Kerala in asking for the demolition of the present dam was to divert the Periyar water flow towards Idukki Dam and enhance its hydroelectric generation capacity,” the statement read.
The forum said that they strongly suspect that the other reason why the politicians of Kerala are pushing for the demolition of the Dam may be to protect the real estate mafia, who have illegally encroached upon around 3914 acres of the total catchments area out of 8591 acres flouting all environmental laws and regulations.
The encroachment was made possible when the water level of the dam was reduced to 136 ft, from the previous 142 ft in 1979.
If the water levels increased to the previous 142 ft level, most of these resorts and private farmhouses would automatically submerge, hence the hue and cry by the Kerala state, the statement further read.