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Sudden release of Mullaperiyar waters by Tamil Nadu worsened floods: Kerala tells Supreme Court

The Kerala government also sought the constitution of a Management Committee to manage the day-to-day operations of the Mullaperiyar Dam.

Published: 23rd August 2018 08:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th August 2018 10:12 AM   |  A+A-

Mullaperiyar Dam. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Kerala on Thursday informed the Supreme Court that the opening of shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam and refusal of the Tamil Nadu government to lower the water level in the dam among the reasons for the floods that have claimed the lives of 373 people and left several others missing.

Mullaperiyar Dam is located on the Western Ghats near Thekkady in Idukki district of Kerala on the Periyar river.

ALSO READ | Mullaiperiyar dam is safe, won’t exceed 142-ft: Tamil Nadu CM tells Pinarayi

Submitting the affidavit, Kerala said, "State was managing the spate by controlling spill and letting a major portion of the flood waters to escape to the sea. This was done by implementing a strict operational control over the spill of the two largest reservoir systems of Idukki and Idamalayar in synchronisation with eight small other reservoir systems in the above basin. The sudden release from Mullaperiyar Dam, which is the third largest reservoir in the Periyar basin, forced the Kerala government to release more water from Idukki reservoir, which is one of the main causes of the deluge."

ALSO READ | Consider bringing down Mullaperiyar dam water level by 3 feet: Supreme Court tells panel

The affidavit also states as to how Kerala's Water Resources Secretary had written to her counterpart in Tamil Nadu government and the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee on Mullaperiyar dam, requesting controlled release of water without waiting for the water level in the reservoir to reach its full level but no positive response was received from the Tamil Nadu government.

To avoid repeat of such situations, Kerala government has suggested that the Supervisory Committee be headed by the Chairman of the Central Water Commission with Secretaries of both the states as members and should be empowered to take decisions by a majority opinion regarding operations during flood or any similar crisis.

The Kerala government also sought the constitution of a Management Committee to manage the day-to-day operations of the Mullaperiyar Dam. On August 15, huge rains had hit Idukki, the gates of the dam were opened after the water level touched 142 feet mark.

The case is likely to be heard on Friday. During a brief hearing last week, the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra had asked both the states to work harmoniously and asked the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) and a sub-committee set up by Kerala government to deal with the flood situation in the state to coordinate and explore the possibility of reducing the water level at the Mullaperiyar Dam by three feet.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Russel Joy, a resident in the downstream area of the Mullaperiyar dam in Idukki district of Kerala, highlighting the perils of a dangerously-high water level in the British-era dam, made worse by the utter lack of co-ordination between the two State governments and a non-existent disaster management plan.



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