Kerala to request SC for immediate decision on Mullaperiyar

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala will request the Supreme Court for an immediate decision on Mullaperiyar dam pointing out the present extraordinary situation.

The state will point out in its counter-affidavit to Tamil Nadu the rapid increase in water level due to incessant rains. Kerala has forwarded the counter-affidavit to its counsel, Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, and standing counsel G Prakash. The Supreme Court is slated to consider the case on Monday.

Kerala's intention is to counter Tamil Nadu's argument that there are no fissures in the dam and it is not vulnerable. The state will strive to convince the court that a new structure is inevitable under the current circumstances.

The state, meanwhile, is not likely to reply to Tamil Nadu's allegation that it had withdrawn within 24 hours the permission given by the chief wildlife warden to fell trees in the vicinity of the baby dam. Instead, it will argue for providing priority to the safety of the dam. It will also point out that the present situation is different from that of 2014, when the Supreme Court had given its verdict on the reservoir's water level.

Tamil Nadu's attempt to prolong the case on the dam's safety by arguing that it was not of high importance had failed in the apex court. The court, on November 13, decided to hear Kerala's views on the water level and the dam's safety.

Tamil Nadu's reply on the seepage data (details of leakage) in the Supreme Court will be crucial. It has been arguing that the dam is not structurally or geologically weak. Kerala has countered the argument, saying Mullaperiyar was instrumental in flooding the state in 2018 and 2019.

Kerala has sought a Supreme Court directive, similar to its 2018, against allowing the water level to exceed 139 feet, considering the flood situation. Tamil Nadu, however, has taken a stand that the water level should be increased to 142 feet. It has also pointed out in the court Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's statement in the state Assembly that the situation was not worrisome.

Kerala's major arguments
•The water level reached almost the permissible capacity of the reservoir during heavy rains. The shutters were raised twice this year to release water to Idukki dam
•The water level in Idukki reservoir is also nearing the permissible level. The dam's shutters were raised three times this year to release water
•The dam's catchment area is still receiving incessant rains. The situation will get worse if the rain continues. The reservoir's water level was 126.6 feet this time last year. It rose to 140 feet this year.

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