Mullaperiyar dam water touches 140 feet, Kerala quiet

Mullaperiyar dam water touches 140 feet, Kerala quiet

The water level of the Mullaperiyar dam reservoir, which is located in Kerala though its waters serve Tamil Nadu also, touched 140 feet Friday. Unlike in the past, the state remained quiet about the development.

"It has been raining heavily and 14 mm of rain has been reported since Thursday... and the water level has touched the 140 feet-mark," a resident said.

At a cabinet meeting here Thursday, it was decided that tough steps will be taken if the level touches 140 feet, but no action has been taken yet.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj.

The water level has breached the 140 feet-mark only on two earlier occasions. In 1992 it touched 143.8 feet and in 1995 it was 141.60 feet.

Previously, when Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph in November 2011 had said that the water level was around 134 feet at his home town Idukki, a couple of shutdowns followed.

A 208-km-long human chain and numerous local protests were held.

Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan had also said during the 2012 election campaign that the Left Democratic Front was prepared to raise money to build a new dam if neither Tamil Nadu or the Centre were willing to help.

But matters came to a standstill when in May this year the Supreme Court struck down a Kerala assembly act restricting the water level at 136 feet. It also gave the safety standards at the dam a clean chit.

After the verdict came, the Kerala assembly, for the fourth time, passed a unanimous resolution that the central government should act as a mediator for building a new dam at Mullaperiyar.

Sources close to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that one way to revive the issue now was to approach the apex court in the coming days.

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