THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/THENI: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday, October 24, 2021, wrote to his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin, asking him to issue immediate directions to draw as much water as possible from the Mullaperiyar dam to the Vaigai dam through the tunnel. He also asked TN to intimate Kerala at least 24 hours before raising the shutters of the dam so precautionary measures can be taken.
“It is feared that the reservoir level may reach (the permissible) 142 ft once the torrential rain intensifies. Hence, there would arise an urgent need for the gradual release of water from Mullaperiyar dam through the tunnel to Tamil Nadu,” the letter said.
Till late Sunday night, there was no public response from the TN government. On Saturday, the first flood alert was issued in Theni for the Mullaperiyar, and water from the dam is being released to Vaigai dam. Local officials said the inflow is 5,250 cusecs per minute and the outflow is 2,200 cusecs.
Though located in Kerala’s Idukki district, the Mullaperiyar dam is operated and maintained by TN, where five districts rely on it to meet drinking and irrigation needs. After concerns over the dam’s safety arose in 1979, the water level was reduced from the full reservoir level of 152 ft to 136 ft till TN completed strengthening works. Then, the State demanded that the water level be raised but Kerala objected.
The matter went to the Supreme Court, which has twice held that the water level could be maintained at 142 ft. However, Kerala alleged TN contributed to its flood disaster in 2018 by releasing water from the dam without sufficient warning.
More showers to lash Tamil Nadu
Rains are expected in Pudukottai and TN’s delta districts on Monday, the IMD said, adding that thunderstorms are likely at isolated places in Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi, Virudhunagar, Madurai, Tiruchirapalli, Villupuram, Cuddalore and Chengalpattu districts, and in Puducherry and Karaikal. In Chennai, showers are expected in some areas