Mullaperiyar Dam: Plea filed in SC seeking direction to Tamil Nadu
ANI | DC Correspondent
The application has been filed by six local residents who has sought appropriate direction to the Government of TN to construct a new dam
Mullaperiyar Dam, an over-a-century old gravity dam of 53.6 m in height and a reservoir capacity of 443 million m3, impounds the Periyar River in Kerala, downstream to Tamil Nadu. (Facebook)
New Delhi: An application has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking appropriate direction to Government of Tamil Nadu to construct a new dam as also augment the storage capacity of the Vaigai dam downstream or to take such steps to strengthen the Mullaperiyar dam till an alternative dam is constructed.
The application has been filed by six local residents including one Ajay Jose through advocate Manju Jetley Sharma, who has sought appropriate direction to the Government of Tamil Nadu to construct a new dam as also augment the storage capacity of the Vaigai dam downstream or construct additional dams or reservoirs to store the water drawn from the Mullaperiyar dam so as to allay the fear of the millions whose lives are at risk in the event of the unthinkable, namely the collapse of the Mullaperiar dam and as a fallout the giving away of the Idukki dam which is certain to cause the loss of 35-40 lakhs of citizens in the five districts of Idukki, Thrissur, Ernakulam, Kottayam and Alappuzha, may wiping out of the city of Cochin.
According to the application, Mullaperiyar Dam, an over-a-century old gravity dam of 53.6 m in height and a reservoir capacity of 443 million m3, impounds the Periyar River in Kerala State, downstream to Tamil Nadu.
It was constructed in 1895 by the British government to provide irrigation and eventually began to generate power. The applicants said that the dam is located in a seismically active area and a minor earthquake is said to have caused cracks in the dam in 1979 and that in 2011, more cracks appeared in the dam due to seismic activity.
"Leaks and leaching are also concerning, as the methods and materials used during construction are considered outdated compared to current standards. In response to these structural issues, dam decommissioning has been considered," the applicant said adding that a dam failure risk would be catastrophic as over 3.5 million people in the lower reaches of Periyar, Azhutha, Meenachilar, Pamba and Manimalayar rivers.
The application was filed in already pending Mullaperiyar dam case. The application has urged the top court to direct the Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Central governments to take such steps to strengthen the Mullaperiyar dam till an alternative dam is constructed downstream and/or the storing capacity of the Vaigai dam are enhanced or such additional storage facility is created in Tamil Nadu so as to keep the water level of the Mullaperiyar dam at safe levels without in any manner adversely affecting the water supply to Tamil Nadu or even the generation of power by Tamil Nadu.
The petitioners have also sought that they may be granted some time to produce more evidence on ageing dams and reports of several experts and to issue appropriate direction to the States of Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Central Government to put in place adequate safety mechanisms to keep the loss to life and damage to property to the lowest possible in the event of the unthinkable happening, pending construction of a new dam meeting the highest of safety standards.