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 told the House.
In the light of the government’s explanation, Speaker N. Sakthan denied leave for discussion on the adjournment motion.
3 spillway shutters lifted
Three spillway shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam were lifted by half a foot at 10 a.m. on Tuesday following a surge in inflow. The water level was 141.78 ft at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Against an inflow of 2,600 cusecs, Tamil Nadu drew 2,000 cusecs while 600 cusecs were released into the Idukki reservoir through the Periyar river, a senior official of the Kerala State Electricity Board in charge of the Mullaperiyar dam told The Hindu .
Mr. Chandy said it was unfortunate that T.N. 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.