Petitions panel calls for `dam break analysis' of existing dam

Our Bureau

If the old dam were to collapse, the water would reach the Idukki reservoir on the Kerala side, formed by three big dams. These dams would not be able to withstand the pressure of the flow from Mullaperiyar.

Thiruvananthapuram, Sept. 25

Construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar has been suggested by the Petitions Committee of Kerala Assembly.

The new dam has been recommended in place of the existing 110-year-old dam built with lime and mortar. The safety of the dam is a subject of dispute between Kerala, where it is located, and Tamil Nadu, which receives water from the reservoir.

The report of the committee, which was tabled in the House on Monday, said that even the British engineer behind the construction of the dam way back in 1896 had given a life of only 50 years to it.

The committee is of the view that resorting to just patch-up works to maintain the old dam is not advisable considering the severity of the calamity that it might cause in five districts of Kerala if anything untoward were to happen to the structure.

CALAMITY FEARED

If the old dam were to collapse, the water would reach the Idukki reservoir on the Kerala side, formed by three big dams at Idukki, Cheruthoni and Kulamavu. These three dams would not be able to withstand the pressure of the flow from Mullaperiyar, the committee observed.

In the circumstances, the committee suggested that a new dam using modern engineering expertise should replace the existing one. It should be designed in such a way as to withstand probable earthquakes in Mullaperiyar region.

The report noted that the region had experienced tremors very recently and even two well-known geologists from Tamil Nadu, after carrying out studies, had confirmed that the region is prone to earthquakes.

NEW PACT URGED

The committee said that it would be ideal for the two States to work out a new agreement after the construction of the new dam. The new agreement should protect the interests of both the States.

For the present, the Kerala Government should commission a `dam break analysis' of the brick-and-mortar structure at Mullaperiyar and take precautionary measures to avert any possible tragedy.

Also, the sand embankment created by the Tamil Nadu engineers in front of the spillway of the dam should be removed, the committee suggested.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 26, 2006)
XThese are links to The Hindu Business Line suggested by Outbrain, which may or may not be relevant to the other content on this page. You can read Outbrain's privacy and cookie policy here.