With the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam nearing its allowed maximum capacity of 142 feet, Tamil Nadu will be lifting four spillway shutters of the dam by half feet Sunday night. The Theni collector decided to open the shutters again after the inflow of water into the dam strengthened.
By opening the shutters in the night, Tamil Nadu officials violated their earlier promise that the dam would not be opened in the night. At present, the water level is at 141.64 feet in the dam. Earlier in the day, Idukki District Collector V. Ratheesan was informed by Tamil Nadu officials that the shutters would be opened if the water level nears the 142feet mark.
The water inflow into the dam was at 2,605 cubic feet per second, while 2,100 cubic feet water per second was being discharged to Tamil Nadu.
The district administration assured the people that there is nothing to worry. However, the district collector has urged those who dwell on the banks of Periyar to keep a vigil. Last week, Tamil Nadu had opened eight shutters of the dam without giving prior information, much to the ire of Kerala government.
Kerala Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash had on last Wednesday said that legal action would be sought against Tamil Nadu if the shutters are opened again without sounding alert in advance. Kerala officials alleged then that Tamil Nadu did not submit the shutter gate operating manual to the Central Water Commission (CWC) as required. Moreover, Tamil Nadu opened the shutters without issuing prior notice to the Idukki District Commission, it was alleged.
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 regime.
Kerala has been pressing for a new dam and a state delegation led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy took up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently.
Tamil Nadu, however, is not agreeing to a new dam in lieu of Mullaperiyar. Though the dam is located in Kerala, it is owned, maintained and operated by Tamil Nadu and the former has for long been demanding decommissioning of the dam that has developed leaks.