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Supreme Court issues notice to Kerala on TN’s plea seeking maintenance of Mullaperiyar dam

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court today sought response from Kerala on a plea of Tamil Nadu alleging that the neighbouring state is not allowing it to maintain the historic Mullaperiyar Dam.

A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul issued notice to Kerala and fixed the plea of Tamil Nadu for hearing in the second week of July. Tamil Nadu, in its plea, has sought execution of the apex court judgement in the case, saying it has been held that Tamil Nadu will have a right to maintain the dam while its security would be taken care of by Kerala.

Tamil Nadu has alleged that its officials are not allowed to perform the maintenance work of the dam. In its 7th May, 2014 verdict, the Supreme Court had held that the 120-year-old Mullaperiyar Dam is safe and allowed the Tamil Nadu government to raise the water level to 142 feet and ultimately to 152 feet after completion of strengthening measures on the dam.

Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry dam and was constructed pursuant to the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement of October 29, 1886 across the Periyar river. The construction continued for about eight years and was completed in 1895.

The dam is situated in Idukki district in Kerala and is owned and operated by Tamil Nadu government. The length of the main dam is 1,200 feet and top of the dam is 155 feet.

The farmers of southern districts of Tamil Nadu have welcomed the Supreme Court directions to Kerala on maintenance of Mullaperiyar Dam.

The dam is the lifeline for lakhs of people including farmers in south central districts of Madurai, Sivagangai, Dindugul Theni and Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu.

The 120 year old dam in Idukki district of Kerala is operated by Tamil Nadu for irrigation and drinking purpose. The maintenance work of the dam is conducted by engineering officials of Tamil Nadu government. Tamil Nadu filed a case in Supreme Court after Kerala government obstructed the maintenance work.

Earlier Supreme Court in its verdict in May 2014 rejected the case filed by Kerala that Mullaperiyar dam is not safe and allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the water level of to 142 feet. Tamil Nadu was also allowed to raise the water level to 152 feet after strengthening the dam. This would help the drought affected districts of Tamil Nadu as water will be diverted from Vaigai Dam in Theni district.

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