The Kerala government said on Tuesday that their objective is to renew the Parambikulam-Aliyar agreement, a decades-old river water-sharing pact with neighbouring Tamil Nadu, by completely protecting the interests of the state through talks.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the state Assembly that though the review talks began in 1988, a final decision was yet to be taken on the matter. This is largely due to the lack of understanding on various issues, including on the sharing of excess water.
Vijayan said that the Tamil Nadu government, during a Chief Minister-level conference on inter-state water agreements held in Thiruvananthapuram in 2019, had agreed to renew the pact. “For this, five-member committees, comprising experts, including technical persons, had been formed under the aegis of department secretaries of the two states,” he said, adding that these panels had met three times so far.
“Based on the decisions taken at these meetings, a consensus has been made with Tamil Nadu to formulate an initial framework for reviewing the Parambikulam-Aliyar agreement,” Vijayan noted.
As requested by Kerala, the neighbouring government had also agreed to increase the number of meetings of the Joint Water Regulatory Board, which has the power to divide and distribute water under the agreement.
As per the directions of the National Green Tribunal, the state also demanded that the natural flow (E-flow) of water to all rivers, which are part of the pact, should be maintained and the provision for E-flow should be included in the renewal agreement.
Kerala had expressed concern over Tamil Nadu’s approach to the river-water sharing agreement, signed by the two states in 1970, with retrospective effect from 1958.
The Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) is an inter-state multi-purpose project completed in late 1960s and its functioning is based on an agreement between the two states.
The project diverts the water from the basins of three west flowing rivers, originating from the western ghats along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, namely the Periyar, Chalakkudipuzha and Bharathapuzha rivers. These rivers are mainly fed by the southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon rainfall. The water diverted to the east is mainly used for irrigation purpose.
(With inputs from Agencies)