The Tamil Nadu government on Friday strongly objected to Kerala’s announcement to construct a new reservoir in place of the existing Mullaperiyar dam, PTI reported.
Tamil Nadu Water Resources Minister Duraimurugan said that the move was “arbitrary” and amounted to contempt of a 2014 Supreme Court order.
“The Supreme Court’s order clearly stated that the Mullaiperiyar dam is stable in all respects and that there is no need for a new dam,” said Duraimurugan in the state Assembly, according to the Hindustan Times. “It [Supreme Court] has also made it clear that the Kerala government cannot impose the new dam project on the Tamil Nadu government.”
On Friday, Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, during an address in the Assembly, had announced that the state plans to build a new dam to replace the 126-year-old Mullaperiyar dam, according to The Hindu.
“We are taking every effort to ensure the safety of people of Kerala while making sure that the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu gets the water it needs,” Khan had said.
The Mullaperiyar dam is situated in the Idukki district on the Periyar River in Kerala. However, it is managed by the Tamil Nadu government.
The two states have been involved in a dispute as Kerala has called for a new reservoir to be constructed, citing structural problems with the Mullaperiyar dam.
Kerala has also proposed that the water level of the dam should be reduced to 138 feet. Tamil Nadu, however, wants the levels to be raised to 152 feet, claiming that the Mullaperiyar dam would be able to take on the additional pressure. The Supreme Court had fixed the water level at 142 feet in 2014.
In December, the Kerala government had accused Tamil Nadu of repeatedly opening the shutters of the Mullaperiyar dam at night without giving it notice. It had also filed a petition in the Supreme Court.
In January, the Supreme Court, however, said that it did not want to get into the administrative matters related to the dam but urged the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments not to treat the case as adversarial litigation.
The court had said that its main objective in hearing the case was to ensure the safety of people living downstream of the dam. It also announced that an expert committee will look into matters such as water-level management and seepage from the dam.