Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday thanked his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan for ”granting permission” for felling 15 trees downstream of the Baby Dam at Mullaperiyar reservoir, a day after his cabinet colleague Duraimurugan indicated there was no forward movement from that state on the matter.
Stalin said he has been informed by his officers of the Water Resources Department, the portfolio held by Duraimurugan, that the permission for felling the 15 trees downstream of the Baby Dam at Mullaperiyar Dam has been granted by the Forest Department of Kerala. ”This long-pending request was crucial to strengthen the Baby Dam and Earthern Dam and this permission would enable us to initiate steps for strengthening these structures. On behalf of my Government and the people of the southern districts of Tamil Nadu, I thank you and the Government of Kerala for this permission. This would go a long way in benefitting the people of both states and I sincerely hope that this spirit of cooperation between our states continues,” Stalin said.
He reiterated Tamil Nadu’s commitment to undertake all steps needed to further strengthen the Mullaperiyar Dam and ensure the safety of the people living downstream in Kerala. He also requested Vijayan to expedite the other important requests from Tamil Nadu–for granting permission to repair the road between Vandi Periyar and Periyar Dam site and to transport necessary materials.
This was the only land route to the dam site and hence these road works were essential to conveying the materials and machinery to carry out the repair and strengthening works, he said. Amid his state’s ongoing standoff with Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Duraimurugan had on Friday said the water level in the reservoir would be raised to 152 feet after strengthening the Baby dam. Both states are at loggerheads over the stability of the century-old structure, with Kerala insisting that it was not strong while Tamil Nadu says that is not the case.
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Duraimurugan had also said the issue could be resolved only during the ‘time’ of Vijayan.