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Kerala seeks review of 2014 judgement on Mullaperiyar dam issue, demands new dam

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New Delhi [India], February 17 (ANI): Kerala has submitted before the Supreme Court that the only permanent solution for removing the eternal threat of damage to the Mullaperiyar dam is to build a new dam and sought that judgment of 2014 be reviewed by a larger bench.

In a freshly written note filed by the state of Kerala, it has submitted the only permanent solution for removing the eternal threat of damage to the dam is to build a new dam in the downstream reaches of the existing Mullaperiyar dam.

The written submission filed through advocate G. Prakash mentioned that in 1979, a team of engineers from both states headed by the then Chairman of the Central Water Commission had made a specific recommendation for constructing a new dam as a permanent solution to the safety problem of the existing dam. It also pointed out the Empowered Committee report, dealt with this aspect as the first alternative and the top court has endorsed the same in its judgment of May 7, 2014.

“The Ministry of Environment and Forest granted terms of reference (TOR) for the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study of a New Mullaperiyar dam on November 14, 2018 along with conditions for the preparation of EIA/EMP Report. The EIA study of the New Mullaperiyar dam is in progress,” Kerala said.

“In the above circumstances, it is necessary that the judgment of 2014 be now comprehensively reviewed, if necessary, by a larger bench of this (Supreme) Court. Well settled principles of environmental law like the precautionary principle discussed by this Hon’ble Court (2005) 15 SCC 186 must be taken into consideration in reviewing the said judgment, ” the State of Kerala said.

The written note also highlighted the excessive and erratic rainfall and disastrous floods during the monsoon season of the last four consecutive years from 2018 to 2021, which particularly occurred in the Idukki District where the Mullaperiyar dam is situated. Citing environmental change, it said that no amount of rejuvenation can perpetuate a 126-year-old deteriorated dam that now exists at Mullaperiyar. “Merely carrying out strengthening measures would not be sufficient,” the state justified.

Kerala also suggested that modern satellite technology methods should be installed in the dam to measure stress, strain, seismicity etc. It further added that at the time of construction of the dam in the 19th century, the effects of seismic forces were not taken into consideration in the design.

Considering the age of the dam and the safety of lakhs of people living downstream, Kerala submitted that the evaluation of the safety of the dam may be done immediately by an international panel of experts having expertise in dam management, geology, seismicity, hydrology and experts having expertise in decommissioning of dam.

“The terms of reference of the study and details of the agencies for conducting the test should be shared to the party States and approved by the Supervisory Committee,” it said.

The Kerala state further apprised the court about the draft rule curve and said that said draft rule curve was prepared by Tamil Nadu and was accepted by CWC without taking the view of Kerala into consideration.

Kerala stated that according to the calculation carried out by it, the total quantity of water that can be drawn by Tamil Nadu from the Mullaperiyar reservoir is not significantly affected by the rule curve proposed by Kerala.

“The performance analysis at 75 per cent dependable flow, 50 per cent dependable flow and 33 per cent dependable flow are all such that the rule curve proposed by Kerala would not reduce the amount of water available to Tamil Nadu in the course of the year,” read the written note filed by Kerala. (ANI)

This report is auto-generated from ANI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

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