Dam-break analysis on Mullaperiyar completed

Thiruvananthapuram: Going ahead with its crisis management programme for the Mullaperiyar dam, the Kerala government on Tuesday said it has completed the 'dam-break analysis' at the 116-year-old reservoir over which it is locked in dispute with Tamil Nadu.

Giving details of the disaster management plan, Water Resources Minister PJ Joseph told the Assembly as a first phase, government had also completed the study of 'Dam-Break Flood situation' from Mullaperiyar reservoir to the downstream Idukki dam. The studies were conducted by IIT-Roorkee.

Joseph was replying to a calling attention motion of ES Bijimol (CPI), who wanted government to take steps to ensure the safety of the residents living in the area between the two dams.

As per the analysis report, the water level down the Mullaperiayar dam area would rise by 40.30 m and in Idukki dam, which is about 36 km from Mullaperiyar, the level would go up to 20.85 m, if anything adverse happened to the over century-old reservoir.

A calamity, if it happens, would directly affect 32,503 people and 8,942 houses in seven villages situated down the dam as per a preliminary study by the government, he said.

Sixty-nine shelters would have to be built for the safety of people and total cost estimated for the construction was Rs 20 crore. The dam-break analysis between Idukki dam to Arabian Sea area in Kochi was progressing, Joseph said.

Discussions have begun on plans to implement the Incidents Response System by coordinating different departments during the time of any disaster, he said.

Acting Governor HR Bhardwaj had said last week that the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has formulated a crisis management plan for the dam in the wake of 'grave risks' arising from its safety.

Kerala is insisting on building a new dam, citing safety concerns, but Tamil Nadu is against it, saying the present structure was strong. The dispute is now before the Supreme Court, which has appointed an Empowered Committee to examine the safety and other aspects of the present dam.