Kerala Warns Tamil Nadu Before Opening Mullaperiyar Dam

A Congress protest at Vandiperiyar in Idukki against Mullaperiyar dam water release without warning.
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A Congress protest at Vandiperiyar in Idukki against Mullaperiyar dam water release without warning. (Photo/thehindu)

Highlights

  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed to Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, on Thursday, appealing him to assure that the Mullaperiyar dam's shutters are opened only after ample warnings and during daylight hours.
  • Tamil Nadu had opened the spillway shutters after 10 p.m. for the fourth time in a month.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan addressed to Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, on Thursday, appealing him to assure that the Mullaperiyar dam's shutters are opened only after ample warnings and during daylight hours.

Mr. Vijayan said the dam's shutters V1 to V8 were opened at 3.30 a.m. on Thursday, according to information he received. He explained that sufficient warning was not given before the large discharge of 6,413 cusecs, which was later raised to 8,017 cusecs at 4 a.m. by opening all ten shutters. Mr. Stalin's participation was requested by Kerala's Chief Minister in order to alleviate the fears and anxieties of those living downstream.

He advocated for a scheduled and progressive release of water during the daylight rather than at night or early in the morning. Mr. Vijayan stated, The Kerala Government is of the considered opinion that Tamil Nadu should receive appropriate water while the safety of the people of Kerala is protected. He emphasised the importance of neighbouring countries discussing and developing solutions to address the effects of climate change on people's lives and livelihoods.

However, the largest amount of water poured into the Periyar this year, flooding was recorded in the residential neighbourhoods of Vallakadavu, Vandiperiyar, Chappathu, and Upputhara earlier in the day. At Kakkikavala, Congress workers and people blocked the Kollam-Theni National Highway.

Water entered the dwellings unexpectedly in the early hours, according to Sebastian, a resident. No one expected the dam to be opened on Wednesday because the sky was clear. By 10 a.m., he claimed, the water had started to ebb after the majority of the shutters had been closed.

On Wednesday night, considerable rain fell in the Chokkenpetty forest area, which borders Tamil Nadu. The influx caused the spillway shutters to open abruptly as the water level approached the permissible maximum level of 142 feet. Tamil Nadu had opened the spillway shutters after 10 p.m. for the fourth time in a month.

According to Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine, a dangerous scenario existed since the dam shutters were opened after midnight without adequate notice to the public.He claimed that the Tamil Nadu government was also told on Tuesday that opening the shutters at night should be avoided to the greatest extent possible. It has now broken all norms, adding that the Supreme Court's supervision committee would be informed.

Meanwhile, the Vaigai dam in Tamil Nadu's Theni district, which was used to hold water from the Mullaperiyar, was opened as the water level reached a maximum of 71 feet. According to a Tamil Nadu Public Works Department employee, the 14 shutters remained open on Thursday. Tamil Nadu has a maximum tunnel discharge capacity of 2,300 cusecs.

Following the release of water from the Mullaperiyar dam, the water level in the Idukki reservoir was nearly constant. The Moolamattom power station was producing a lot of electricity, and there had been no rain in the catchment area for the preceding three days. At 4 p.m., the water level was 2,400.50 ft, which is over the blue alert level.

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