SC orders to maintain Mullaperiyar dam water level at 139 feet 

Mullaperiyar dam, Kerala

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday concurred with the conclusion of the Disaster Management sub-committee that the water level in the Mullaperiyar Dam reservoir should be maintained two or three feet below the limit of 142 feet till August 31 as an immediate precaution to guard against floods or other disasters.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud ordered the decision on Thursday. Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha communicated with the bench and informed bench about the current water level situation. He said that both Kerala and Tamil Nadu Government have been informed of the decision.

The Kerala government filed an affidavit to the apex court in which it had said that the sudden release of water from the Mullaperiyar dam by the Tamil Nadu government was one of the reasons for the flood in the state. While the reservoir is located in Kerala, it is operated by the Tamil Nadu government.

Tamil Nadu represented by senior advocate Shekhar Naphade. In his reply, he said “wholly misplaced and contrary to ground realities”. It said it seems that the petition was a “clever device to get out of the Mullaperiyar dam judgment”.

The Supreme Court “assured” Naphade that it was only concerned with saving lives. “Needless to say, the present writ petition has nothing to do with any kind of dispute between the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, but it relates to saving of human lives in the obtaining situation of the disaster”.

Deepak Misra said, “The rains have stopped. Everything has been settled. Today there is a change in the circumstances”.

Kerala essentially needs a measured release of water from the reservoir at 136 feet along with a “supervisory committee”, comprising the Central Water Commission (CWC) chief and secretaries of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, to decide by the majority on the Mullaperiyar Dam when there is flood.

The SC ordered Tamil Nadu to respond to the Kerala affidavit and posted the next hearing on September 6.

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