Kerala raises pitch over Mullaperiyar dam

An all-party meeting was held at the state capital on Wednesday which urged Tamil Nadu to cooperate. A decision to send a team of ministers to brief the union government of the situation at Delhi was also made. Kerala would like the water level be brought down to 120 feet from the present 136 feet considering the weakness of the dam and the repeated earthquakes in the region. The demand to build a new dam in the place of the old dam was also reaffirmed. “There should not be any delay in constructing a new dam in place of old Surki dam which has become weak.

The safety of people living downstream is our prime concern,” said Kerala irrigation minister P J Joseph on Wednesday.

 The state’s hardening stand follows apprehensions on the impact of the frequent earthquakes in the Idukki district, where the Mullaperiyar Dam and other major dams of the state are situated. As many as 22 tremors have been felt in the district this year ans a recent earthquake has reportedly created fissures in the dam.

The Mullaperiyar dam situated at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar in Kerala has been an issue of dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu for a long time. While Kerala argues that the dam has weakened over a period and that the present dam built in 1895 needs to be replaced, Tamil Nadu denies it and demands that the storage level of the dam be increased to 142 feet.

Though the dam and its catchment area is situated in Kerala, it is controlled by Tamil Nadu through an agreement made during the rule of British.

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