Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mullaperiyar Dam: Tamil Nadu takes Kerala to court for \'creating panic\'

New Delhi: December 01, 2011

The battle between Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the Mullaperiyar dam saw new fire exchanged today.

The Chief Minister of Kerala has asked Tamil Nadu to lower the water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam, mainly for safety reasons - the structure is more than 100 years old and the region where it is located has seen several tremors lately - 20 since July. However, the Tamil Nadu government has taken its case to the Supreme Court. It has petitioned that \"The Kerala government is spreading panic among the public about the safety of the Mullaperiyar Dam which is not true.\" J Jayalalithaa\'s government has asked the court to stop officials in Kerala from commenting on the possible construction of a new dam.

The dam structure is located in Kerala, but is controlled by Tamil Nadu. That\'s one of the reasons for the fierce dispute between the two states. The other is over its safety. Residents in Kerala in districts like Alappuzha and Ernakulam are concerned that the dam cannot much longer withstand the many tremors felt in the area regularly.

So Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy wrote to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu today, asking Ms Jayalalithaa to agree to lower the water level in the dam. He said her state will continue to receive the same amount of water.

Tamil Nadu says the fears over the dam collapsing are unwarranted -and stirred up by politicians in Kerala because they want to restrict how much water is sent to Tamil Nadu.

Both states have involved the union government - asking for an intervention by the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court has asked the state government to explain what it\'s doing to protect lakhs of residents from the potential disaster of the dam crumbling. The Kerala Assembly has called a special session to discuss the dispute.

The dam\'s structural safety was also questioned in 2008 when experts from IIT Roorkee suggested that it may not be able to withstand a quake measuring more than 6.4.

The Mullaperiyar dam was built in 1895 in Kerala on the River Mullayar and its tributary, the Periyar. The water is diverted eastwards to service farmers in Tamil Nadu. Kerala has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the fact that all benefits from the dam accrue to Tamil Nadu
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