State to move SC against T.N. over dam safety

A view of the water level at the Mullaperiyar dam on Tuesday.  

As heavy rain brought the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam closer to the permissible limit of 142 feet, the Kerala government told the Assembly on Tuesday that it was preparing to move the Supreme Court against Tamil Nadu for the failure to comply with dam safety regulations.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the House that the issue would be taken up with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti later this week. He was intervening during the discussion on the notice for an adjournment motion moved by E.S. Bijimol and others.

Replying to the motion, State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph said the government would file a petition in the Supreme Court pointing out that the dam supervisory committee had opened the spillway shutters to release excess water into the Periyar river on Monday night without observing the operational schedule mandating 12-hour prior notice to Kerala.

Drawing attention to the heavy rain lashing the catchment area, he said a torrential downpour like the one experienced by Chennai recently could pose a danger to the 120-year-old dam.

Mr. Chandy said it was unfortunate that Tamil Nadu had adopted an indifferent attitude to Kerala’s request to draw more water from the dam in the light of the rising water level in the reservoir. “Though we had conveyed our anxiety about the safety of the dam, their response was not favourable,” he said.

Study team

“Tamil Nadu not only ignored our plea to draw more water from the reservoir, but also failed to give adequate warning before opening the shutters,” Mr. Chandy said. He assured the House that all possible administrative and legal options would be explored by the State to ensure the safety of the dam. The government, he added, would constitute an international study team to assess the risks posed by the old dam.

Earlier moving the motion, Ms. Bijimol alleged that the government remained helpless and on the defensive as Tamil Nadu continued to flout dam safety regulations.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 10:41:38 AM |

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