Tamil Nadu, Kerala Slammed By SC Over Mullaperiyar Dam Maximum Water Level: ‘Act Seriously Or People’s Lives Will Be At Risk’

As a result of heavy rains in Kerala, the Supreme Court has asked the supervisory committee for an immediate decision on the maximum water level for the Mullaperiyar dam, which is over a century old. According to government sources, if the level of water at Mullaperiyar Dam doesn’t fall by Friday, the dam will open. As of today, 137.75 feet of water surrounds the dam.

Mullaperiyar Dam Maximum Water Level

Mullaperiyar Dam, which is located in the Idukki district of Kerala, was constructed in 1895. Everyone involved in this matter is at risk of losing their lives; the higher court has directed them to work together immediately. There must be honesty and responsibility on the part of both parties. Life is at stake. People’s lives and properties will be at stake. Let’s all act responsibly. Justices A M Khanwilkar and C T Ravikumar said the Supreme Court was not a political arena.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala Slammed By SC Over Mullaperiyar Dam Maximum Water Level: 'Act Seriously Or People's Lives Will Be At Risk'

Counsel for one of the petitioners told the bench hearing the matter that the water level of the dam has been rising in Kerala due to heavy rains, and there is a risk to the lives of about 50 lakh people. In Kerala’s perspective, the water level of the reservoir should not be raised over 139 feet, in line with the apex court’s order in August 2018 when Kerala was hit with floods. A representative of Tamil Nadu said Thursday that the water was 137.2 feet deep. According to the court, all agencies should communicate urgently and a committee should establish a maximum level of water to be maintained.

In a report to the bench, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati mentions that a status report has been filed by the committee. “Defining the maximum water level helps protect the dam. It is this concern addressed today. If an urgent need exists, have you taken a close look at this. If so, give us your instructions,” it was asked by the bench. It was noted that the ASG will take instructions on the matter. The court states that it cannot decide on the water level; that should be done by a committee.

In 24 hours, a committee must address all concerns raised by parties. Kerala’s attorney argued that Tamil Nadu could reduce its level to 137.2 feet. The Kerala attorney was told to talk to Tamil Nadu officers and the committee responsibly about this. A serious situation on the ground must be addressed by all parties, according to the report. Since none of the parties responded to the bench, the court must resolve this. If you do your job, it doesn’t need to be decided.

CM Of Kerala Asks Tamil Nadu To Draw Maximum Water

As a result of the torrential rains in Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan warned that the Mullaperiyar dam’s reservoir level could reach 142 feet, and he asked M. K. Stalin to make sure the dam could draw the maximum amount of water. Therefore, Stalin is required to act quickly and the authorities are required to release the maximum amount of water from the Mullaperiyar Dam during a specific period using the tunnel. By the terms of the agreement, the Kerala government will be notified 24 hours before the shutters open to ensure the safety of downstream residents.

Kerala Governor’s Statement

In Mullaperiyar, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan stated that the existing dam is very old and people are seeking a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The judiciary plays a role in water issues as well. How to reach an amicable settlement is something that people are working on, according to Mahathir, water levels continued to rise in the dam as it is more than a century old. Earlier in the day, India’s top court ordered the supervisory committee to decide on the maximum level of water to be maintained in the Mullaperiyar dam. It is relevant to preserve lives, the court said.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala Slammed By SC Over Mullaperiyar Dam Maximum Water Level: 'Act Seriously Or People's Lives Will Be At Risk'

Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala, announced legal action against social media scaremongers regarding the Mullaperiyar Dam. The court ordered that Kerala’s officers interact with officials from Tamil Nadu and the committee respectfully. CM sold his commitment to building a new dam at Mullaperiyar to the state Assembly, despite criticism, including from the center. Located in the Idukki district of Kerala, Mullaperiyar Dam is a power source and irrigation facility operated by the Tamil Nadu government. Despite these concerns, Tamil Nadu says the dam is strong and shouldn’t be replaced.

The History

In 1886, the Maharaja of Travancore signed a lease contract with the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works whereby the dam was leased by Tamil Nadu for 999 years in Kerala. As a result of the dam, Madurai in Madras Presidency received water from the arid mist region of Madurai, instead of the Arabian Sea, during the years 1887-1895. Several lawsuits have been filed surrounding the dam due to the lease.

Tamil Nadu was allowed to use the water for power generation and a revised rent after Indian independence. However, concerns regarding the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam were repeatedly raised over the next decade, and in 1979 Kerala wrote to its neighboring states asking them to immediately strengthen it. As part of the request, a team from the Central Water Commission (CWC) was also deputized to inspect the dam and make suggestions for strengthening it.

Various strengthening measures had been implemented by the CWC team by 1980, after which the water level had been restored to 145 feet. The lawsuits continued and by the end of the 2000s, the Supreme Court had directed the Water Resources Ministry to establish a committee to assess the dam’s safety. This committee said further raising of the water level would be considered after “balance strengthening measures are implemented.

Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation Act

This resulted in the Mullaperiyar dam being listed as an ‘endangered dam’ and its level not being raised. It is alleged that the government of Tamil Nadu has appealed the Act in the apex court. Despite additional meetings between the two states, nothing further has been achieved. Kerala explained to the Centre and Tamil Nadu in 2009 that it was considering building a dam independently during an interstate meeting. Tamil Nadu disagreed.

Tamil Nadu, Kerala Slammed By SC Over Mullaperiyar Dam Maximum Water Level: 'Act Seriously Or People's Lives Will Be At Risk'

Kerala insists it does not wish to renege on its commitments, but the construction of the proposed dam will void any water-sharing agreements with Tamil Nadu. The dam row, which went beyond water level disputes, caused violence in both states in 2011. According to the Supreme Court’s instructions, the court-appointed empowered committee recommended either the construction of a new dam or the repair and strengthening of the existing dam in 2010. Tamil Nadu’s rights to raise water levels in the dam from 136 feet to 142 feet were protected by the apex court in May 2014 after Kerala’s review petition against the Act was denied.


Edited by Anupama Roy

Nandana Valsan

Nandana Valsan is a Journalist/Writer by profession and an 'India Book of Records holder from Kochi, Kerala. She is pursuing MBA and specializes in Journalism and Mass Communication. She’s best known for News Writings for both small and large Web News Media, Online Publications, Freelance writing, and so on. ‘True Love: A Fantasy Bond’ is her first published write-up as a co-author and 'Paradesi Synagogue: History, Tradition & Antiquity' is her second successful write-up in a book as a co-author in the National Record Anthology. She has won Millenia 15 Most Deserving Youth Award 2022 in the category of Writer. A lot of milestones are waiting for her to achieve. Being a Writer, her passion for helping readers in all aspects of today's digital era flows through in the expert industry coverage she provides.

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