Idukki (Ker): Sharp differences in the local campaign group agitating for a new dam at Mullaperiyar for the last five years has come to the fore with the removal of its chairman C P Roy by other members of the Mullaperiyar Samara Samithi.
    
According to Samithi leaders, Roy was removed from the post for his recent remarks which diluted the Samithi's firm stand that a new dam alone could ensure the safety of the people in downstream areas.
    
The samithi at its meeting here on Monday evening decided to remove Roy from the post and nominated Fr Joy Nirappel as the new Chairman.
 
According to Roy, his suggestion was that pressure in the dam could be reduced by digging a tunnel at a height of 50 feet in place of the present one at 104 feet. He said the paramount concern was safety of the people who had been living in fear for the last several years.
    
Roy said he had only put forth a suggestion, which was yet to be discussed by the Samithi members.
    
However, the Mullaperiyar Samara Samithi, in a statement said Roy's personal view was at divergence with it's declared stand that a new dam is the only option to ensure security to
lakhs of people who are living in fear.
    
The dam row has intensified since last month with both Tamil Nadu and Kerala sparring over the latter's insistence on building a new dam in place of the 116-year old Mullaperiyar reservoir, causing tension in border areas of both states.
    
Kerala has been citing safety concerns for its demand to decommission the dam, which feeds five southern districts in Tamil Nadu, under whose control it comes on a 999 year lease.

(Agencies)