An Indian state official reassured residents Tuesday that the recently-attacked 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam is safe and will not become harmed by the latest surge of violence, according to a report in the Deccan Chronicle.
However, the letter did little to reassure residents of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, adjacent southern Indian states, who clashed Wednesday over the construction of a proposed dam in Kerala and over water resources controlled by the dam.
Tamil Nadu protestors targeted businesses owned by Keralites Wednesday and set a bus on fire, according to a report from India Times.
The chief minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalitha, assured residents of the adjacent Indian state of Kerala that the nearby Mullaperiyar Dam was safe and assured residents they have nothing to worry about with regard to the safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam.
The letter was written in the light of recent attacks on Ayyappa devotees on their way for a pilgrimage to Sabarimala, Kerala.
The dam is well-maintained and has been periodically reinforced, Jayalalitha wrote in the letter released Tuesday. Its safety is constantly monitored and highly qualified experts, including those nominated by the Supreme Court, have reiterated that it is absolutely safe.
The chief cinister dismissed notions the dam was unsafe and could collapse in the near future.
There is no justification whatsoever to believe that the Mullai Periyar dam is unsafe or likely to collapse, bringing a deluge upon Idukki and surrounding districts. The dam is well maintained and has been periodically reinforced. Its safety is being constantly monitored and highly qualified and accomplished technical experts, including those nominated by the Supreme Court of India, have repeatedly reiterated that it is absolutely safe, she stated in the letter, adding that it would be ignorant to doubt the dam's safety simply because it was 116 years old.
I call upon the highly educated and intelligent people of God's own Country not to fall a prey to the machinations of narrow, vested interests or of unscrupulous anti-social elements and allow their rational minds to be manipulated to indulge in Quixotic acts of wanton mob violence, she wrote.
The 63-year-old chief minister pointed out that a large number of Tamilians lived in Kerala and a larger number of Malayalees lived in Tamil Nadu for decades. She also appealed to the people of Kerala to not destroy the goodwill between the two sides that had been built over centuries of interaction.
In addition, she clarified details about widespread panic in recent times; the dam stands in an earthquake-prone zone.
Tremors, if at all, in Zone III will rarely cross 3 points on the Richter scale. Tremors of 2 to 2.9 intensity on the Richter scale are generally not felt, but recorded. Such tremors are taking place every minute all over the world and are mere statistics for the Meteorology Department. Tremors of 3 to 3.9 intensity on the Richter scale are often felt, but rarely cause damage, she wrote. She continued by saying that such tremors were widespread and was no cause for concern.
Finally, she called upon the media to exercise restraint and report the issues objectively and asked that political classes in Tamil Nadu desist from making inflammatory speeches on the issue, which could vitiate cordial relations between people of the two states.