Monday, February 13, 2012

Mull(ai/a)pperiar deed -the true story:

SreeNair | 10:39 AM |

The Deed in 1886

             Divan Ramayyangar for Trivandrum province and State Secretary of Madras Presidency Mr.John Child Hanington have signed, a lease deed for constructing a Dam across Periyar river on 29th Oct 1886 .

            The first correspondence dates back to 1862 September when the Madras presidency wrote to Divan Sri.Madhava Rao of Travancore mooting the idea of constructing a dam across Periyar.He replied on November 25th .The Travancore,Cochi resident Fisher in his letter to the Divan served in Dec 1882, wanted a clear decision on the Dam as the feasibility for the Dam is to be completed in the fair climate itself. The Madras Presidency has allocated for the Dam in its presidency Budget.Divan in his reply to the letter ,proposed that the profit out of the project shall be equally divided and that Travancore has no objection to the study by the engineers.

Accordingly Mr Barton ,the British engineer submitted the project after conducting elaborate study on the wild forests in the source of Pariyar. Expectedly the study did not touch on how the inhabits in the downstreams and the valleys will be affected.

The committee constituted under Diavan Peshkar opined that the project is detrimental to the interests of Travancore.The history says that the British had made Travancore to sign at pistol point under duress.The contract that the expenditure and the profits will be equally divided was not adhered to and it is history that the Raja did not prefer to sign the agreement.Under threats the Raja was made to sign the agreement after a prolonged 24 years of obdurate defense.The contract was for 99 years ,but the lease deed remained for 999 years.

Britishers were very cunning to extract benifits from the provinces to areas in tis direct control. Karnataka always grumble that the natural rights of Mysore Kingdom over Kaveri has been forcefully taken away by the Britishers.Thelunkana region witnesses recurring agitations over denial of rightful shares of Godavari water .The coastal andhra was a part of the old Madras presidency under British rule .Arthar Coat is worshipped there as a valiant warrior.

The study for taking Mullapperiyar water to Vaiga was taken up as back as in 1789.The initiative was of Muthirupilla ,the chief lieutenant of Muthulinga Sethupathi the King of Ramnad ,who was an ally of Britishers.But as the King was fighting with Britishers , project did not come up.King Senupathy was defeated in the battle and the Britishers annexed his kingdom.

The water scarcity in Madhurai,Theni,Ramnadhpuram,Dindigal were a point to worry to the Britishers. Subsequently Jaims Kadvelli was entrusted to take up the study to divert Periyar water by tunnelling western ghat to Vaigai, in 1808.But Jaims decided against it.Britishers did not retract and started the construction work of a Dam in 1850 by diverting water through the chinnamuliyat rivulet based on the study of captain Faber .But this again was abandoned.

           After the agreement in In 1867 a British engineer Maj Reeves propounded a plan to construct a dam of 162 feet in Periyar and take water to Churuliyar a rivulet of Vaiga through canals .The project failed as water could not be held back during construction.Again the project adduced by General Wakker was abandoned due to technical problems.

In 1882 the British Engineers John Penniquik and R.Smith were entrusted to take up a fresh study and after a thorough analysis of earlier attempts,they came up with a new project. Accordingly a dam was planned with a height of 155ft ,a width of 115.57 ft and at the top 12 feet based on Surky,lime and stone ,the then available construction materials.

As per the agreement in 1886,the water from Periyar can be used only for agricultural purposes.But from then onwards Tamil Nadu has been using it for generating Electricity also.Travancore province authorised the then Divan Sir CP to attend the case.He fought vigorously for the Raja.

The words of Sir CP before the arbitrators are history.Divan argued that not only that the water should not be used to generate Electricity but should also be not used for drinking even!When the tussle eluded a consensus, the TN advocate general Mr.Alladi Krishnaswamy directly engaged with Sir CP and finally as per the arbitrator the case was left to the decision of Nalini Chatterji ,the judge of HighCourt of Culcutta.

The highcourt finally gave the verdict that electricity generation is an industry and hence Mullapperiar waters can not be used for that.TN has to subdue before Sir CP.

The first agreement was signed after long 20 years of debates.But 1n 1970 without any discussions ,without the directives of Kerala Assembly ,the then CM of Kerala, Sri.C.Achutha Menon signed the renewal of the agreement which some believe was perfunctory and shortsighted.He has sacrifised Keralas interests for the sake of brotherhood of the neighbouring people.

As per Indian Independence act -section 7 the agreement has become void.Section 7 says that all treaties in between the British and the indian kings have become redundant. If any treaty has to hold further a standing agreement needs to have evolved as in Kaveri water disputes in Karnataka.If the treaty is to hold water ,modifications or renewal of it should have happened before 1957-Nov 1.But since such an action has not been resorted to ,the agreement signed between Kerala and TN in 1979 stands void.

Interestingly the officials signed on behalf of Kerala were all Tamilians.


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