Mullaperiyar dam in danger of collapse as TN-Kerala bicker
Tamil Nadu has issued the first warning to Kerala after the water levels in Mullaperiyar dam rose to 136 feet. The warning was issued by the chief engineer of the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department after the water level rose from 135.50 feet at 7 am to 136 feet at 6 pm, on Saturday.
The Central Water Commission of Tamil Nadu, which is in charge of the dam, said that the dam can contain water up to 142 feet and gates will open after the water reaches the mark, as reported by The Hindu. As per protocol, Tamil Nadu will issue a first alert to Kerala when the water reaches 136 feet, followed by a second alert at 138 feet and a final alert at 140 feet. The water will be released once the level reaches 142 feet.
Kerala had requested Tamil Nadu to release water from the dam in a controlled manner, once it reaches 136 feet, which Tamil Nadu refused to do. In a similar situation in 2018, where Kerala faced similar floods, the worst of the century, gates of the dam were opened late at night, without proper warnings, as the water suddenly attained dangerous levels.
Kerala’s request was in view of the condition of the 150-year-old dam, which has outlived its age by 50 years. It has been reported as a ticking time bomb with parts of it crumbling over time. According to Scroll.in, the dam has been listed amongst the world’s oldest dams that need to be decommissioned, in a report released by the UN University – Institute for Water, Environment and Health.
The report released in January, included the Mullaperiyar dam as “an example of an aged but still functioning dam in a seismically active area amidst structural flaws, political stresses, and environmental issues – as recorded in published literature,” said an author of the study, Duminda Perera.
This discussion comes at a time when Twitter users are apprehensive about three-fourths of Kerala getting submerged if the dam collapses.