Chennai: With the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam touching the contentious 142 foot mark, the Kerala government Monday urged Tamil Nadu to "understand" its concerns over the dam's stability, while indicating that it had no problems sharing water with its neighbour.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated his government's stand that the 117-year-old structure was not safe and expressed concern over safety of the people nearby.
"We are only concerned about the safety of the people. The dam is 117-years-old. We are actually afraid of its safety and that is the only concern of the Kerala government," he told reporters at the airport here.
He said Tamil Nadu government must "understand the concerns. We know the importance of the water (from the dam) for five or six districts," in this state, in apparent reference to the southern parts dependent on water from the reservoir.
"Safety of the dam is the real apprehension and otherwise there is nothing to worry," he said.
He claimed that wildlife had been 'affected' with the water level touching 142 feet.
Asked if he would personally take up with his Tamil Nadu counterpart, O Panneerselvam, about lowering the level, he replied in the negative, saying he had come here to attend a private function.
Kerala has been insisting that the level be maintained at 136 feet, while Tamil Nadu wants to raise it to 142 feet.
The Supreme Court had earlier this year rejected Kerala's demand for a new dam in place of the old one and upheld Tamil Nadu's stand to raise the water level upto 142 feet.