Tamil Nadu government has informed it will open the Mullaperiyar dam on Friday if the water level there does not fall, Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine said on Wednesday. The current water level in the over-a-century-old dam is 137.75 feet.
The minister, in a Facebook post, said Kerala is prepared for dealing with the opening of the dam by Tamil Nadu and necessary arrangements have been made. On Tuesday, the minister had said that Kerala has asked Tamil Nadu to maintain the water level in the dam at the 137 feet level.
He had also said that Tamil Nadu was of the view that water should be retained in the dam till the 142 feet level. Kerala has been insisting on building a new dam, citing safety concerns, but Tamil Nadu is against it, saying the present structure was strong.
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on Tuesday, had said “something new needs to be done” in Mullaperiyar as the existing dam there is very old and people are working to reach an amicable settlement on the matter. “I think already everybody knows that the dam is very old. So something new needs to be done. But how to reach an amicable settlement, that is something on which people are working on the matter. Whenever there is any water dispute, then the judiciary is also involved”, the Governor had told reporters here.
The Governor’s statement had come a day after the Supreme Court directed the supervisory committee to take a “firm decision” on the maximum water level to be maintained in Mullaperiyar dam. The apex court has directed all the authorities concerned to interact immediately on an urgent basis on the issue saying it has something to do with lives.
Responding to queries in the Assembly on Monday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had said that the government is committed to its demand for a new dam at Mullaperiyar despite opposition, including from the Centre. Mullaperiyar dam, built in 1895 on Periyar river in Idukki district of Kerala, is operated by the Tamil Nadu government for its irrigation and power generation needs.