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Kerala freezes decision to fell trees at Mullaperiyar dam site

- November 7, 2021

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 6 (BPNS)

Kerala government has frozen the order of the forest department to fell trees at Mullaperiyar dam. There was a request from the Tamil Nadu water resources minister, S. Duraimurugan for felling of a few trees to strengthen the Baby dam at Mullaperiyar.

The Kerala government Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) Bennychen P. Thomas had given orders for cutting of trees. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin had thanked the Kerala Chief Minister on Sunday for the sanction to cut trees near the Baby dam.

After the thanksgiving letter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister came in the open with media carrying the report, opposition came out strongly against the state government and said that the state has become submissive to Tamil Nadu in the Mullaperiyar issue. The Congress state president K. Sudhakaran and BJP state president K. Surendran demanded the resignation of the state forest minister.

Senior Congress leader and former state opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala pointed the finger towards the state Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and charged that no officer would sign such an order without getting consent from Kerala Chief Minister.

Kerala Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF), Bennychen P. Thomas has, according to information sent a report to the Kerala forest minister’s office stating that he had given sanction to cut trees following a request by the Tamil Nadu government a few months before and that a decision was taken at the Secretary-level discussions between the Forest and Water Resources departments.

The stand of Kerala government all along was for the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar after decommissioning the present one that is 126 years old. The United Nations had in a recent report cited that the present Mullaperiyar dam posed a grave threat and that it had outlived its age. The UN had also recommended the construction of a new dam.