Lower Mullaperiyar Dam level to 139ft: SC
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Lower Mullaperiyar Dam level to 139ft: SC

The Supreme Court on Friday directed bringing down the Mullaperiyar dam level to 139 ft from the fixed level of 142ft in the wake of the recent flood.

This would be up to August 31 after which the matter should be reviewed and post the case to September 6. It also asked both the States to go by the decision of the Mullaperiyar Dam Supervisory Committee.

The apex court order was on the basis of a petition filed by an individual after the request of Kerala Government to Tamil Nadu to bring down the level to 139 ft was rejected. Earlier, the court while taking up the petition, had asked the disaster management authority to look into the issue since it felt there was the need to bring down the level. It called for the report the next day.

On Thursday when the matter was taken up on Friday, Kerala blamed Tamil Nadu for the devastating floods, arguing that the sudden release of water from the dam by that State was one of the causes.

In the affidavit, Kerala Chief Secretary Tom Jose said: “The State was managing the spate by controlling spill and letting a major portion of the flood waters escape to the sea. This was done by implementing a strict operational control over the spill of the two largest reservoir systems of Idukki and Idamalayar in synchronisation with eight small other reservoir systems in the above basin. But the sudden releases from Mullaperiyar Dam, the third largest reservoir in the Periyar basin, forced us to release more water from the Idukki reservoir, downstream of Mullaperiyar, which is one of the causes of this deluge.”

The Water Resources Secretary had requested the Tamil Nadu Government and the supervisory committee chairman to release the water in a controlled manner without waiting for it to reach Full Reservoir Level.

The minutes of the meeting of the sub-committee of the national executive committee held as per the apex court direction also indicated that the supervisory committee chairman had addressed the TN authorities about the necessity to maintain water level at 139 ft. Unfortunately, no positive assurance in this regard was given by from Tamil Nadu, the affidavit added.