KUMILY:: Tamil Nadu on Tuesday failed to give an assurance to Kerala that it would alarm the latter before releasing water from Mullaperiyar dam through its spillway by opening the shutters in the event of the water level reaching the permissible point of 142 feet.
The request made by the Idukki district authorities to the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department to alarm it at least eight hours before releasing water has not received any positive response, District Collector Ajit Patil told reporters on the premises of the dam. Tamil Nadu PWD superintending engineer Rajesh said the matter needs to be discussed with the higher authorities before giving a firm answer on it. He said Tamil Nadu would consider increasing the intake from the dam to maintain the water level at a safe point in the wake of it going up. Patil said the water level is inching slowly to the permissible limit. Even as there is no rainfall in the catchments, the water is constantly going up, he said. He was speaking to reporters after inspecting the dam to make preparations as part of the disaster management in the district. A last minute warning by Tamil Nadu on releasing of water will put the district administration in a tight spot as vacating 450 members of the 120 families to safe areaswill be jeopardised. Patil, who is also an engineer, said it would be difficult for both the states to manage the situation if the water level goes up suddenly with continuous showers. He said Tamil Nadu had issued the first warning when the water level reached 140 ft and the second when the level reached 141 ft. The third warning should be issued sufficiently earlier so as to enable the district administration take steps to rehabilitate the vulnerable families, he said. Earlier, the Collector and his team visited the main Dam and baby bam. The Collector inspected the seepage through the bottom of the baby dam and asked Rajesh about the reason for the increased seepage. To this, Rajesh said it is a normal phenomena seen in all dams. The Collector also visited the gallery of the dam and observed the seepage through the main dam. Media was prevented by the police from entering the dam due to the objection by the Tamil Nadu PWD. Later, the Collector held discussions with officials of both the states following which mediapersons were allowed to enter the dam after a delay of about 30 minute with riders.