New dam in Mullaperiyar: Centre postpones crucial meeting, gives no reason

Mullaperiyar Dam. File photo: Manorama

New Delhi/Idukki: The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) postponed a meeting that was to be held with regard to conducting an environmental impact study as part of building a new dam in Mullaperiyar. The Centre did not specify the reason for the same. The meeting was called at a time when Tamil Nadu has been raising strong protests against the state's move to build the dam.

It was indicated that the meeting of the Expert Evaluation Committee (River Valley and Hydro Electric Projects) of the MoEF would consider Kerala's demand to set the terms of reference for conducting an environmental impact study to demolish the old dam and construct a new one at Mullaperiyar. The plan for the new dam, submitted by the state government in January, was forwarded to the expert evaluation panel for consideration.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin approached the Union Minister of Environment Bhupendar Yadav stating that Kerala should not be allowed to conduct studies for the new dam. Kerala's main concerns include the dangerous condition of the current dam, which is over a century old, heavy rains and the safety of thousands of people living downstream. If approved, the new dam would be constructed in the Periyar Tiger Reserve zone, a notified protected area.

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