Kerala assembly sees heat over four dams' ownership

Thiruvananthapuram, The ownership of four dams has become a contentious issue in the Kerala assembly as there have been heated discussions over it for the past two days.

Opposition legislator Jameela Prakasham Wednesday said four dams in Kerala - Thunacadavu, Peruvaripallam, Parambikulam and Mullaperiyar - are owned, operated and maintained by Tamil Nadu as per the National Register of Large Dam (NRLD) published by the Central Water Commission (CWC).

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Thursday confirmed in the house the NRLD had placed the four dams under the Tamil Nadu government in 2009.

"It was in 2012 that Kerala noticed this discrepancy. The chief engineer (irrigation) and the then state government wrote to the CWC asking them to make the necessary changes," Chandy said.

"They replied to us stating they will make the necessary corrections... and they went ahead and made the changes," he added.

"... the ownership of the dams is with Kerala and we have already intimated this to the CWC, and at the next meeting of the National Commission for Dam Safety, we will raise this issue again," said Chandy.

Opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan, however, sought to know why the Kerala government officials kept mum at the CWC meetings when the issue was raised.

"I will place all the letters of communication that the government had with the CWC on the table of the house. We have also told officials to be alert when issues concerning the state come up," said Chandy.

Unhappy with the explanation, the Left opposition was up in arms, forcing Speaker G. Karthikeyan to stop the proceedings of the house.

After a break and a meeting of the leaders of the house, it was decided to place the issue before the subject committee of the house, which will do a detailed study of what happened.

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