THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has asked Tamil Nadu to take urgent measures to maintain the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam by releasing more water to Vaigai dam in Tamil Nadu, in view of the rising water level.
Speaking to Express, Additional Chief Secretary Nivedita P Haran, who is holding the charge of the Chief Secretary, confirmed that Kerala has sent a letter to TN in this regard. Kerala will also request the Supreme Court (SC)-appointed supervisory panel on Mullaperiyar to urgently convene its meeting to address the issue.
Meanwhile, the state has decided to hold back its earlier decision to approach the SC seeking to maintain the water level in the dam at 136 ft. The decision was taken following legal advice received from senior counsels at the apex court. With water level showing a steady rise, there are widespread concerns about the safety of people in the downstream. Last week, Kerala had requested the Supreme Court-appointed high-level supervisory panel and TN to maintain the water level at 136 ft as one of the 13 spillway shutters of the dam was dysfunctional.
However, the request was rejected, following which Kerala decided to approach the apex court and sought legal opinion for the same. Members of Kerala’s Mullaperiyar special cell went to Delhi to seek legal advice in this regard.
“Following legal advice from senior counsel Harish Salve, we decided to put on hold the move to file a petition before the SC seeking to maintain the water level at 136 ft. It was pointed out that filing an Interlocutory Application to maintain water level now could affect the review petition which is currently pending before the court. First, the state needs to set the ground for filing the petition,’’ said sources.
Kerala Government had filed a review petition before the SC seeking review of its May 7 verdict allowing TN to raise the water level to 142 ft. However, the state has decided to urge the supervisory panel to urgently convene its meeting to address the fresh concerns.
“As the most practical option before us, the State Government will ask the SC-appointed panel to urgently meet and take a decision in this regard within two days. A letter in this regard would be sent to the panel by the Chief Secretary on behalf of the State Government. The letter has been prepared and is expected to be sent soon,’’ sources said.
Water Level Rises to 139 ft
Idukki: Water level in Mullaperiyar Dam rose to 139 feet on Tuesday. The inflow of water into the dam was 1,047 cusecs against 456 cusecs of water drawn by Tamil Nadu. A total of 8.4mm of rainfall was recorded in the catchment areas of the dam and 8 mm in Thekkady Boat Landing centre. Meanwhile, a top official in Peermade Taluk under which the area comes said that no specific safety measures have been taken so far to address an emergency situation. The state government has not issued any instructions in this regard so far, he said. On the other hand, with 1164.38 mcm of water, 80 per cent of the Idukki Dam is filled. The water level in the dam stands at 2,385.28ft against its threshold capacity of 2,403 feet.