The Supreme Court on Monday expressed concern about the rising water level in Kerala’s Mullaperiyar Dam, saying that it was a matter of people’s lives, Bar and Bench reported.

The dam is located in Kerala’s Idukki district and is managed by the Tamil Nadu government, reported The News Minute. The water level in the dam rose after heavy rain in Kerala.

On Monday, a bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and CT Ravikumar heard the Kerala government’s petition saying that the water level should not be allowed to cross 139 feet. This is three feet below the 142-feet-limit set by the Supreme Court in 2014, according to Bar and Bench.

The court had appointed a supervisory committee to decide on the maximum water level that can be maintained in the dam.

The judges said that the committee needs to quickly take a decision. “Please understand the anxiety of the other party [Kerala],” the court said. “It is about the life and property of people. It is serious situation on ground. This is not a political arena.”

The court will hear the case next on Wednesday.

Kerala CM writes to his TN counterpart

On Sunday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had urged his Tamil Nadu counterpart MK Stalin to draw water from the Mullaperiyar Dam, reported The Hindu.

In a letter to Stalin on Sunday, Vijayan said that 2,109 cusecs of water had accumulated in the dam even after Tamil Nadu had diverted water. The Kerala chief minister pointed out that if the inflow continued and the rain worsened, the water level in the reservoir would cross the safety mark of 142 feet.

In his letter, Vijayan said that Kerala officials had told the Tamil Nadu government on October 18 to take steps to ensure the safety of people living downstream, after the catchment area had received heavy rainfall. On Sunday afternoon, the water level in the reservoir was 136.85 feet, reported PTI.

Vijayan also requested Stalin to direct Tamil Nadu authorities to inform the Kerala government about opening the shutters of the dam at least 24 hours in advance, to help them take “precautionary measures to ensure the safety of the people living downstream of the dam”.

“I request your kind and positive response for ensuring the safety of the lives of our people,” the Kerala chief minister said.

Vijayan told Stalin that heavy flooding due to the rainfall had led to many deaths and severe damage in Kerala on October 15 and October 16. Between October 12 and October 18, 38 people had died in the state in rain-related incidents.

On Sunday, the India Meteorological Department had issued an orange alert for Ernakulam and Idukki districts for the day.

In view of the downpour last week, the Kerala government had opened the gates of Idukki dam in Cheruthoni, Idamalayar dam in Ernakulam and Pampa dam in Pathanamthitta.

Also read: Kerala’s Mullaperiyar dam is a ‘ticking time bomb waiting to explode’