Gave regular warnings to Kerala, Tamil Nadu tells SC

State took all necessary steps before Mullaperiyar water was released: affidavit

Published - August 24, 2018 10:35 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Tamil Nadu warned Kerala when the water level rose in the Mullaperiyar dam during the critical days of the devastating floods, the State said in a counter-affidavit filed before the Supreme Court on Friday.

The Tamil Nadu government denied allegations it waited too long until the water storage level crossed the permitted mark of 142 feet.

Kerala had alleged in its affidavit on Thursday that it was uncertain about the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam even as it was “frantically” evacuating people from downstream areas of the dam. It said there were no “positive assurances” from Tamil Nadu to its request for gradual release of water at least at 139 feet during the torrential rains.

‘Warnings issued’

Tamil Nadu submitted that it had “duly informed Kerala since the water level in the Dam reached +136 ft. Thereafter, when the water level reached +138 ft., +140 ft., +141 ft. and +142 ft., suitable warnings were issued and the quantum of discharge was also intimated. Thus the State took all the required measures before water was released from the dam.”

Periodical warnings were issued since the water level reached 136 ft for every two feet rise, and from 140 onward for every one foot rise. Intimation was given to the Kerala government well in advance regarding the release of water from the spillway of the dam, the counter-affidavit said.

“The allegation that action was taken by the Respondent State (Tamil Nadu) only after the water level in the dam crossed the permitted storage of +142 ft., is denied,” Tamil Nadu said.

Besides, it said Kerala had opened its dams in the first week of August itself, affecting transportation and communication. Mullaperiyar dam was opened only on August 14. “In any event the quantity spilled from Mullaperiyar dam is very small when compared to the quantity spilled by the 39 dams of Kerala,” the counter-affidavit said.

Even the total quantity spilled from Idukki and Idamalayar dams from August 14 to 19 totals 36.28 TMC. This was more than the quantity released from Mullaperiyar dam to Idukki dam during the corresponding period.

Tamil Nadu said the designed Maximum Water Level of Mullaperiyar dam is 155 ft. for which the safety was examined and found to be safe by the Supreme Court. Thus, the flood cushion available is 13 ft. (155 ft. – 142 ft.) which “could not be utilised by Tamil Nadu due to non-cooperation of Kerala.”

This is because Kerala wants to “help” the encroachers, who have illegally occupied the water spread area between 142 ft. and 155 ft. leased to Tamil Nadu, the counter-affidavit said.

It however said both State governments did “their best in the hours of this crisis situation” and the Centre had managed the unfolding of events during the floods on a real-time basis.

The affidavit was countering a petition filed by Idukki resident Russel Joy highlighting the ‘perils’ faced by the people living downstream of the Mullaperiyar dam on the Periyar basin. He said there was a lack of coordination between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, no disaster management plan and people were living in constant fear of flash floods.

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