The Supreme Court on Monday directed the government of Kerala to allow Tamil Nadu to undertake maintenance, repair and cleaning work at the Mullaperiyar dam.
A five-judge Bench comprising Justice D K Jain, Justice R M Lodha, Justice Deepak Verma, Justice C K Prasad and Justice Anil R Dave also permitted the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to get copies of the technical report, which was relied upon by the apex court’s Empowered Committee to conclude that the dam was “structurally and hydrologically safe.”
The maintenance, cleaning work at the dam, cleaning the drainage channel, removing the debris, etc would be undertaken under the supervision of a three-member committee, the Bench clarified after hearing senior counsel Harish Salve and Rajiv Dhawan appearing for Kerala and senior counsel Vinod Bobde, Additional Advocate-General Guru Krishna Kumar and Umapathy Ganesan appearing for Tamil Nadu.
The Bench also stated that the three-member committee shall comprise a superintending engineer each from Tamil Nadu and Kerala and an independent representative nominated by the Chairman of Central Works Commission.
The Empowered Committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice A S Anand, was set up by the Supreme Court to look into the safety of the dam.
The contention of Tamil Nadu is that the dam is safe and that its water level has to be raised from 132 ft to 136 ft.
On the other hand, Kerala feels that the structure of the dam is weak and a new one needs to be built in place of the older one.
A two-member technical team of the Empowered Committee visited the site and concluded that recent tremors in the region did not have any impact on the Mullaperiyar dam and that it was safe. Tamil Nadu, in it’s application to the apex court averred that repairs are required to be carried out on the dam / appurtenant structures on an urgent basis.
Tamil Nadu wanted a direction to Kerala to permit it to take up the work of re-laying the wearing coat on the top of the Baby dam also. The Bench posted the matter to August 31.