From the archives: No Imminent Danger to Periyar Dam

This article appeared in The Hindu on Nov. 9, 1979

Updated - November 17, 2021 12:14 am IST

Published - May 07, 2014 05:47 pm IST

NEW DELHI : A spokesman of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation said today there was no Imminent danger to the Periyar Dam.

The spokesman said the dam was built in stone masonry in lime mortar on the front and rear faces, and had hearting of lime concrete in surkhi mortar. Following considerable leakage of water through the body of the dam in 1933, the front face of the dam was strengthened which had resulted in substantial reduction of leakage. Between 1961 and 1964, grouting of the body of the dam had been undertaken which had helped reduce seepage further.

The spokesman said with the Idukki Dam being in position downstream Of the Periyar Dam the safety of the Periyar Dam had assumed greater significance on account of its design deficiency and age. While designing Periyar Dam, the conventional uplift forces had not been taken into account resulting in some tension under full reservoir conditions.

The spokesman recalled that the Member (Designs and Research) of the Central Water Commission, after an inspection of the dam Jointly with the Chief Engineers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in May, 1978 had recommended that the full reservoir level should be kept seven feet lower at 145 feet, and also that the maximum water level, restricted to 147 feet, be brought back to 148 within 24 hours. According to reports received from the Tamil Nadu Government the present level of water was below 140 feet and, therefore, there was no imminent danger to its safety.

According to the spokesman, the Central Water Commission had called for certain data in regard to the construction of the dam and hydrology of the river to evolve measures for further strengthening of the dam. In February, 1979, the Central Water Commission had suggested to the Tamil Nadu Government the strengthening of the dam by earth-backing.

"As the information sought from the Tamil Nadu Government has not yet been furnished, the matter is being taken up by the Union Irrigation Secretary with the State Chief Secretary"

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