'New Mullaperiyar dam will be a reality'

Currently a survey team is going ahead and identifying the exact location of the proposed dam at Mullaperiyar, Premachandran said.

"The survey team of the minor irrigation department is doing its job there and they will be zeroing in on a site shortly. Once that is done, a report to this effect will be given to the state-run irrigation design and research bureau. We expect that all this would be over in around two months," said Premachandran.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the present dam built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then maharaja of Travancore and the British administration.

While the dam is located in Kerala's Idukki district, it serves Tamil Nadu. In recent years, Tamil Nadu has demanded that the storage capacity of the dam be raised from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for irrigation.

He added that the constitution bench of the apex court is expected to meet on Thursday to decide if the next posting of the case which is fixed for Jan 19 would be taken up.

One of the main reasons why Kerala wants a new dam is because a recent study done by IIT Roorkee has found that the dam, considered to be the oldest, will collapse if an earthquake of 6.5 intensity on the Richter scale occurs.

Kerala appears confident that it has every reason for a new dam because in 1979 the centre had cleared the proposal for a new dam and this was agreed upon by Tamil Nadu, which has back-tracked now.

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