Tamil Nadu government today conveyed its objection to Kerala’s “unilateral action” of commencing work on the construction of a dam across river Pambar, as Chief Minister O Panneerelvam wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.
“This unilateral action of the government of Kerala in having commenced the work for the construction of a Dam across the river Pambar at Pattisserry without obtaining prior concurrence of the government of Tamil Nadu will affect natural flow of the river Pambar and consequently river Amaravathy which in turn will diminish the flows to Tamil Nadu.
“Therefore, the government of Tamil Nadu conveys its strong objection to the unilateral commencement of work for construction of a Dam by Kerala across the river Pambar at Pattisserry without obtaining the prior concurrence of Tamil Nadu,” Panneerselvam told Modi in a letter.
The move was “yet another instance” where Kerala attempted to violate the Final Order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal, “seriously jeopardising” the rights of the lower riparian Tamil Nadu and affecting livelihood of farmers dependent on the waters of the Cauvery river and its tributaries like Bhavani and Amaravathy, he said.
Pambar was a tributary of the river Amaravathty, which in turn was a main tributary of Cauvery, he said, adding, Kerala’s move had caused great concern and anxiety among the people of Tamil Nadu dependent on waters of the Cauvery Basin including Amaravathy for irrigation and drinking water supply.
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Kerala has commenced the work for laying the foundation for construction of the dam at Pattisserry and Tamil Nadu apprehended that the construction work would proceed in full swing and once the permanent structure comes up, its lower riparian rights would be “irretrievably compromised,” he said.
He recalled that Tamil Nadu government had filed an Interlocutory Application in November 2014 in the Supreme Court to restrain Kerala from proceeding with the construction of a dam across Pambar at Pattiseri “which is within the Cauvery basin and to maintain status quo and also not to proceed with the execution of any project, until the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) is constituted and without the specific consent of the Government of Tamil Nadu.”
The matter was pending in the apex court, he said while recalling he had earlier also taken up the matter with Modi, besides enclosing a resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly, among others, urging the Centre to advise Kerala not to execute any work for the construction of the dam and also that no scheme should be taken up by it till the CMB was constituted, besides getting its concurrence.
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Both Karnataka and Kerala have filed civil appeals before the Supreme Court against the final order of the Tribunal even as his state had also filed a Special Leave Petition on certain aspects of the final order, Pannerselvam said, adding the court had held that the civil appeals were maintainable.
The apex court had fixed the hearing of these appeals for February 7, 2017 and will continue to hear them on a day to day basis, the Chief Minister said in the letter.
“Further, the Cauvery Management Board has not yet been constituted by the Government of India for the effective implementation of the final order of the Tribunal. Therefore, the entire matter is sub-judice before the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” he said.
He requested Modi to instruct the Union Ministry of Water Resources to “immediately advise” Kerala government to forthwith stop the work of construction of the dam across Pambar at Pattisserry.
“The government of Kerala may also be advised not to take up any project or works in the Cauvery Basin of Kerala without obtaining the prior concurrence of the government of Tamil Nadu and until the Cauvery Management Board and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee are constituted and the judicial references are finally settled,” he said.