The Kerala Government has granted permission for felling 15 trees downstream the baby dam at Mullaperiyar. This will enable Tamil Nadu to strengthen the baby dam.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin wrote to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday, thanking him for granting the permission.
Earlier in the day, Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan told The Hindu: “It is an important development in our efforts to construct a baby dam. It will allow Tamil Nadu to increase the water level [in the Mullaiperiyar dam] to 152 feet [when permitted by the Supreme Court].”
“This long-pending request was crucial to strengthen the baby dam and the earthern dam, and the permission would enable us to initiate steps for strengthening these structures. On behalf of my government and people of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, I thank you and the Government of Kerala…,” Mr. Stalin said in his letter.
It would go a long way in benefiting the people of both States, he said, hoping for the spirit of cooperation between the States to continue. A copy of the letter was circulated to the media.
The Chief Minister reiterated Tamil Nadu’s commitment to take all steps needed to further strengthen the Mullaiperiyar dam and ensure the safety of the people living downstream in Kerala. “In this regard, I request you to expedite the other important requests from us, for grant of permission to repair the road between Vandi Periyar and the Periyar dam site and to transport the necessary materials,” he said.
That was the only land route to the dam site and hence these road works were essential to convey the materials and machinery to carry out repairs and strengthening works, he said.
Mr. Duraimurugan, who visited the dam on Friday, had made a strong case for cutting the trees for strengthening and construction of a baby dam. “Kerala resisted the proposal on the ground that trees would be felled. Even during my visit, I raised the issue,” the Minister said.