Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday rejected Kerala’s claims that the release of excess water from the Mullaperiyar dam caused floods in the state as “false and baseless”, reported ANI. Adding that the water was released in a phased manner, Palaniswami said that the floods were caused by the excess discharge of water from 80 dams.
“If you say excess water was discharged from one dam [Mullaperiyar], then how did water reach all parts of Kerala,” asked Palaniswami. “The excess discharge of water from 80 dams caused flood in Kerala.”
Though the dam is in Kerala, it is controlled by the Tamil Nadu government.
On Thursday, the Kerala government told the Supreme Court that the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to suddenly release water from the Mullaperiyar dam was one of the reasons for the devastating floods in Kerala. It said that water resources secretary had written to her counterpart in Tamil Nadu and the chairperson of the dam’s supervisory committee, requesting controlled release of water before the reservoir gets filled to capacity.
Earlier on Friday, the Supreme Court directed that the water level in Mullaperiyar be maintained at 139.99 feet till August 31. The reservoir’s maximum permitted capacity is 142 feet.
Palaniswami said that water from the dam was released a week after the floods struck Kerala on August 8. “It was not done immediately after the floods,” he said, adding that multiple warnings were issued and water was released gradually. “Three warnings were issued – first at 139 feet, the second at 141 feet, and the third warning at 142 feet,” said the chief minister.
On August 17, the Supreme Court asked the National Committee for Crisis Management and the disaster management sub-committee to explore the possibility of reducing the water level at Mullaperiyar dam to 139 feet after it touched 142 feet.
The dam was built in 1886 after an agreement between then Maharaja of Travancore and the British. It is located in Kerala’s Idukki district but is managed by the Tamil Nadu government.