Kerala presses for new dam citing collapse threat

Kerala Government on Thursday submitted in the high court that a new dam has to be built across Mullaperiyar river.

Updated: Dec 15, 2011, 18:31 PM IST

Kochi: Kerala Government on Thursday submitted in
the high court that a new dam has to be built across
Mullaperiyar river saying there was an imminent threat of
collapse of the 116-year old existing reservoir, over which
the state is at loggerheads with Tamil Nadu.

In a 60-page statement filed on a batch of petitions over
the issue, the government also pleaded that the water level in
the dam should be reduced to 120 feet to minimise the threat
of collapse and to reduce casualty in case of such an

The statement was filed by Special Government Pleader Tom
K Thomas before a division bench comprising acting chief
justice Manjula Chellur and justice P R Ramachandra Menon
hearing the petitions, including that of CPI-M veteran V S
Achuthanandan, on the apprehensions with regard to the safety
of the dam.

When the petitioners complained that no effective action
for disaster management was being taken by the government and
even the statement did not speak about effective measures
taken or to be taken, the court said, "The government is not
positively acting. They are only responding positively."

The government said the dam is not safe even for a water
level of 136 feet and strengthening measures carried out has
little impact.

"It is not logical to assume that the strengthening
measures would ensure the stability of the structure for the
remaining 883 years of the 999 year lease period (with Tamil
Nadu)," it said.

The statement explained the 18 decisions taken by the
state Disaster Management Authority and said a `dam break
analysis` study by a team from IIT Rourkee is underway.

The bench directed all the petitioners, including
Achuthanandan, who had sought remedial measures to prevent
any disaster, should place their suggestions, if any, before
the court by January 10 for consideration of the government.

Opposing Kerala`s move for a new dam, Tamil Nadu has been
maintaining that the existing structure is safe with the
strengthening measures having been carried out.