Tamil Nadu moves to raise Mullaperiyar dam water level
Posted on May 10 2014 | IANS
Mullaperiyar (Kerala) Officials from Tamil Nadu reached the Mullaperiyar dam site Saturday morning and started preparations for raising the water level to 142 feet.
The steps come after the Supreme Court Wednesday struck down a Kerala assembly act that restricted the water level at the dam at 136 feet.
The apex court also shot down Kerala's demand for a new dam. The court ruled it was safe, contrary to Kerala's claims. Kerala said the 119-year-old dam was leaking and it was high time it be decommissioned.
The Supreme Court also directed a three-member committee be set up, headed by the Central Water Commission chairman and including a member each from the two states. The court added the dam's water level will be increased under the committee's supervision.
Saturday morning, a high-level team of Tamil Nadu officials inspected the dam and also the 13 shutters, besides marking the 142 feet level, to which water can be stored.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the Mullaperiyar dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj.
While the dam is located in Kerala, its waters serve Tamil Nadu. Kerala has always taken a position that the dam should ensure water for Tamil Nadu and safety in Kerala, as five of its districts would disappear if the leaking dam gives way.
Former Kerala Water Resources Minister N.K. Premachandran, under whom lot of studies were done between 2006 and 2011 on the safety of the dam, said the undue haste being shown by Tamil Nadu in sending a team Saturday to inspect the dam does not augur well.
"The court has clearly said all these things should be done by the three-member committee, and today they send a team of officials to the dam, this is not fair. While Tamil Nadu has also appointed their member, Kerala is yet to do it," said Premachandran.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday announced they would file a review petition. He has also called an all-party meeting here Monday to discuss what needs to be done further.