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What we know about the Mullaperiyar Dam

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IE summarizes:

[The] Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala … was built in 1895 on land leased to what was then Madras state for 999 years.
[T]he controversy around it has never reached a boiling point like it has now. Kerala argues the old dam has fallen into disrepair, putting in danger the lives of thousands, and a new one needs to be built; Tamil Nadu, which needs the water to irrigate its arid regions, wants the storage level increased. Parliamentarians from Kerala, cutting across party lines, staged a sit-in; Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalithaa has already written to the PM to advise the Kerala government against building a new dam.

CNN-IBN reports:

Tamil Nadu wants the dam’s storage capacity to be increased by raising the dam height – from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m). Irrigation needs have shot up in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala, worried that a strong earthquake might damage the dam and cause [widespread] destruction, is seeking a new dam and has offered to fund and build it. Tamil Nadu doesn’t agree.

In another report CNN-IBN reported:

A team of scientists led by John Mathai from the Centre for Earth Science Studies reached Idukki Sunday after Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asked them to visit the place following a 3.4 degree [Richter?] earthquake on Saturday. The epicentre in Idukki district lay 30 km from the dam.

The Hindu reports:

The Kerala government on Monday gave an undertaking to the Centre that it would continue to provide the same quantum of water to Tamil Nadu, as is being given now, if a new dam was constructed in the place of the existing 116-year old Mullai Periyar dam in the Idukki district. Besides, the State would construct the dam from its own funds.

This assurance in writing, as sought by Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal from Kerala a few days ago, was jointly given by State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph and Revenue Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan here, as authorised by the Oomen Chandy’s cabinet.

Dec 13, 2011

DNA reported:

The Supreme court Tuesday dismissed Kerala’s plea to lower the water level of the Mullaperiyar Dam to 120 feet.

The apex court said that an empowered committee is looking into the issue. It said that the situation was not grave, admitting that safety of the people was paramount and could not be compromised.

The court also said that both Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments were adding fuel to the fire

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

November 29, 2011 at 4:40 am

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