In a startling revelation on Mullapperiyar Dam controversy, PC George, the former Chief Whip of previous UDF government and  the outspoken leader of the Kerala Congress (Secular), stated that the whole panic over the dam's safety was created by former Water Resource Minister P J Joseph after taking commission from foreign company to build a new dam in place of the 120-year old one. 

 

Former  minister and Kerala Congress leader PJ Joseph created unnecessary panic by warning imminent crash of Mullapperiyar Dam after striking a deal with a Swiss company to build a new dam,  PC George alleged.

 

PJ Joseph had prepared an estimate of Rs.1,000 crore for building a  dam at Mullapperiyar in place of the disputed one. Joseph and former Palakkad district president of Kerala Congress (M) leader A V Mani went to Switzerland and entered into an informal agreement with a company there. The former minister also received commission from the construction company. After returning home, Joseph created big drama and spread panic among people by warning that Mullapperiyar Dam might crash anytime, PC George said at a public function in Kozhikode on Sunday.

 

It was an attempt to make money by creating enmity between the people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. When things did not go in favour of a new dam, Joseph returned the money he received as commission from the Swiss company, George said. "The dam did not break (as Joseph predicted). Now, Joseph is sitting like a Mauni Baba (silent baba)," he ridiculed.

 

The longstanding dispute over the Mullapperiyar Dam, built by the British in 1895, reached a breaking point in 2011 when PJ Joseph was the Water Resource Minister in Kerala after he stated that the dam was in a precarious condition. "The condition of the dam is precarious," he said publicly. "Anything can happen at any time. The Government can't gamble with the life of 30 lakh people in the State. We need a new dam in Mullapperiyar. We want to ensure safety to our people," he had stated then. The minister's statement added fuel to the raging controversy over the dam. Protests demanding decommissioning of the Mullapperiyar Dam spread across the state and the panic mounted as the water level in the dam rose above 140 feet.

 

The Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court on Mullapperiyar Dam had come to a conclusion that the 120-year old dam was safe. In May 2014, the apex court allowed Tamil Nadu to raise water level in the dam to 142 feet by striking down Kerala Dam Safety Act 2006 which proposed to restrict the water level of the dam at 136 feet.