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Mullaperiyar water level hits 142 ft; shutters opened

OUR BUREAU Kochi | Updated on January 22, 2018

Idukki, Kerala, 07/12/15. Mullaperiyar dam in its near maximum level of 142 ft.

As inflows continue, three spillway shutters of the disputed Mullaperiyar reservoir at Thekkady were opened at mid-morning on Tuesday after the water level touched the legally permitted 142 feet.

Earlier, on Monday evening, the Tamil Nadu Government had opened eight of the 13 shutters, thus letting the excess water into the Idukki reservoir system of Kerala. These shutters were closed at pre-dawn following thinning of inflows. But, because of the rains in the catchment areas that increased the inflows, the Tamil Nadu authorities opened three shutters.

The Mullaperiyar dam, owned by Tamil Nadu but located within Kerala, has for long been a bone of contention between the two States and has seen a series of legal battles. Kerala has, citing the weak health of the dam, wanted to cap the water level at 135 feet, while Tamil Nadu has fought for a full capacity. The Supreme Court has fixed it at 142 feet. Kerala has for some years been advocating relocating the dam to a safer area.

The opening of the eight shutters on Monday evening, allegedly without giving prior notice to the Kerala Government authorities, had attracted severe criticism from Kerala. The Idukki District Collector had told the Tamil Nadu authorities to allow sufficient time before opening the shutters so that steps could be taken in the downstream areas of the Idukki reservoir to pre-empt disasters.

Kerala Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph alleged that Tamil Nadu broke the norm that the decision to release the shutters should be conveyed to Kerala at least 12 hours in advance. The sudden release had caused panic among the people in the downstream areas, he noted. He said Kerala would move the Supreme Court on this.

Published on December 08, 2015

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