Indian govt nod keeps Kerala’s Siruvani dam building plan in abeyance

CHENNAI,Nov2: The central government has conveyed to the Tamil Nadu government its decision to keep the recommendations of an expert panel to construct a dam in the Siruvani river in Kerala.

“The matter has been examined by the ministry of environment, forest and climate change and it has been decided to keep the recommendations by expert appraisal committee in abeyance till the references filed in the Supreme Court against the order of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal are settled or till Kerala gets a positive consent for the ensuing project from the Tamil Nadu government,” said a press statement from the state government quoting a letter from the Union ministry.

The expert appraisal committee of the ministry at its 96th meeting on August 11 and 12 recommended to the ministry for the grant of standard terms of reference for conducting environment impact assessment (EIA) study of the Attappady Valley Irrigation Project by the Kerala government. Incidentally, the panel in its 92nd meeting held in March last, said the proposal would be considered only after Kerala obtained the comments of the Tamil Nadu government.
The Centre’s nod triggered unrest in the western districts of Tamil Nadu, with political parties, including the main opposition DMK, and farmers associations joining the protests as the Siruvani river is the source of drinking water in the region.

In its unanimous resolution on September 2, the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly expressed regret over the manner in which the committee for river valley and hydroelectric projects made its recommendations with “unwarranted” haste and without obtaining the consent of the Tamil Nadu government and the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.
“The House deeply regrets that contrary to truth it has been recorded in the minutes of the meeting that the ministry had written to the Tamil Nadu government several times to which there was no response. It is of the view that the committee had taken an adverse decision against TN in warranted haste,” the resolution said.
It urged the central government not to accept the recommendations of the committee and not to permit the governments of Kerala and Karnataka to take up any project in the Cauvery basin till a Cauvery management board and Cauvery water regulation committee come into force and judicial references are settled.
The Central government has stopped the Kerala government from going ahead with the construction of the proposed dam across Siruvani river for the Attappady Valley Irrigation Project until it gets a consent from the Tamil Nadu government.
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