Setback for Kerala, SC panel says Mullaperiyar dam safe



Setback for Kerala, SC panel says Mullaperiyar dam safe New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee on the Mullaperiyar Dam, over which Tamil Nadu and Kerala are at loggerheads, has concluded that the 119-year-old structure is "safe" and asked the Kerala Government to reconsider its proposal to build a new dam.

The five-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India Justice AS Anand also recommended that the water level at the dam, located in Kerala's Idduki district and maintained by Tamil Nadu Public Works Department, can now be raised to 142 ft from the existing 136 ft.

In the report, the committee, which made numerous visits to the site and conducted a slew of tests and surveys, has concluded that the Mullaperiyar Dam structure is safe on each of the "hydrologic, structural and seismic considerations", sources told a news agency.

"The Empowered Committee has concluded that the existing Mullaperiyar Dam is safe on each of the hydrologic, structural and seismic considerations. The Empowered Committee, therefore, concludes that the reservoir FRL (Full Reservoir Level) lowered in 1979 to 136 ft can be restored to FRL 142 ft," the sources said, quoting the report.

The committee, that has one each former Supreme Court judges hailing from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, said "in view of the present safety analysis, Empowered Committee concludes that the proposal of the State of Kerala to build a new dam be reconsidered", the sources said.

While Tamil Nadu has been maintaining that the dam was "absolutely safe" and the water level can be raised to 142 ft, Kerala has been vociferous in its demand for a new dam to be built near the existing structure. The Committee also said that the quakes which occurred near the dam were "small in magnitude, short-lived and sporadic in nature," they quoted the report as saying.

PTI