THENI: Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on Monday said the Tamil Nadu government would take steps to raise the water level of Mullaiperiyar dam to 152 ft with the support of the neighbouring state of Kerala.After opening the head sluice at Thekkady on Monday, Panneerselvam said the government was moving forward with the blessings of the late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. “She was keen on raising the dam level and the government will take steps to raise the level up to 152 ft,” he said.
OPS said around 300 cusecs of water had been released. “Of this, 200 cusecs of water were released for irrigation purposes and 100 cusecs for drinking purposes for Theni district. The water will be released for the next 120 days to raise second crop in 14,700 acres of land,” he said. Collector N Venkatachalam, Superintendent of Police V Baskaran, Executive Engineer of Public Works Department (Mullaiperiyar-Vaigai water irrigation)-Madurai Subramanian, SDO-PWD-Mullaiperiyar dam Sam Irwin, many farmers and their leaders were present.
Last year, it was MLA Thanga Tamilselvan who released the water from the head sluice.
While the inflow of water is 657 cusecs to the dam, the present water level stands at 126.8 ft. The government officials are worried over the depletion of water level in the dam and they are anticipating some more rain in the areas in and around the dam.
‘OPS remark not practical’
O Panneerselvam’s statement on holding discussions with Kerala to raise the water level in Mullaiperiyar dam has not gone down well with a group of farmers and a few leaders. The Federation of TN All Farmers Association State deputy secretary Sunguttuvan said the Kerala government would not allow to raise the water level in the dam when it was not ready to follow the SC order.
“They did not even allow us to bring construction materials to strengthen the baby dam. Even now, Kerala is delaying permission to operate our new boat to the dam from Thekkadi jetty. Hence, the words of Deputy CM is not practical,” he said.
Stating that over 1,400 cusecs were being released for the past few days from Mullaiperiyar dam to Vaigai dam, Vijayarajan of Cumbum Valley Farmers Association said, “An additional 300 cusecs of water is being released from today. The excess water will reduce the water level in the dam when the inflow is poor. Hence, the discharge of water from the dam should be reduced.”
Meanwhile, a few other farmers said the water was released for irrigation purpose after a break. The farmers could not raise first crop this year due to the delay in rains. The release of water for the second crop is a boon to the farmers. “Last year, the farmers struggled for water to save the crops. The situation forced many to buy water in order to save crops. Farmers are expecting a rise in water level in Mullaiperiyar dam,” they added.