No change in Kerala's stand on water level in Mullaperiyar dam: Minister

Mullaperiyar Dam

Thiruvananthapuram: With heavy rains in the recent days, the Idukki reservoir is nearly brimming and has almost reached the blue-alert mark, which calls for keeping a watch on rising water levels.

On Monday, the water level was 2,368.78 ft (from sea level) and close to the blue alert mark of 2,369.95 ft fixed by the Central Water Commission (CWC). A blue alert would be sounded as water rises to 2,369.95 ft. The blue alert could be declared today considering today's inflow.

Mullaperiyar level

Meanwhile, the water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam was at 135.90 ft on Monday. From Wednesday through the 30th of July, the water level can be maintained at 136.6 ft. It can also be increased to 142 ft twice a year.

Tamil Nadu is now attempting to raise the water level in the dam to the permitted capacity as it has reached 135.90 ft. The move is in accordance with the rule curve approved by the CWC. Even as the intensity of rains has reduced, TN aims at raising the water level to 136.30 ft today as per the rule curve.

As part of this move, TN is letting the water level rise by not releasing water from the Vaiga Dam, where the water from the Mullaperiyar is stored. With the water level rising, the Mullaperiyar sub-committee is set to visit the dam today. Although 2,800 cubic feet of water can be released from Mullaperiyar per second, TN is taking only 1,867 cubic feet of water.

Minister on water level

Kerala remains firm on its stand that the water level in Mullapperiyar dam must not exceed 136 feet, said Roshy Augustine, Minister for Water Resources, during the Assembly discussion seeking grants for his Ministry.

The Supreme Court directive is that the water level must not go beyond 142 ft. This is favourable to Kerala, the minister said, in response to Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan’s question from the Opposition bench. Radhakrishnan pointed out that since 1979, Kerala’s stand has been to maintain the water level at 136 ft in Mullaperiyar.

Kerala’s demand is for a new dam in Mullaperiyar to ensure the safety of Kerala and adequate water for Tamil Nadu. A site has been identified for the proposed dam downstream of the existing one, and the revised Detail Project Report (DPR) has been prepared. The SC had agreed to conduct a study of the dam by an expert committee and more members were included in the team considering Kerala’s arguments, Augustine said.

Sea wall

More than Rs 5,000 crore is needed to build a sea wall along just 65 kilometres where the sea erosion is particularly severe in the total coastal line extending to 576 km in Kerala. Roshy said Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has allocated Rs 1,500 crore towards the same. This is following the model of a sea wall built in Chellanam at an outlay of Rs 300 crore.

The Minister hoped the flood problems in Kuttanad could be controlled to a large extent after the sand, silt and sedimentation were removed during desiltation in the Thottappally spillway, thereby increasing the flow of water. 

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