In a verdict that holds huge ramifications for Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the raising of water level in Mullaperiyar dam to 142 feet. The court also appointed a supervising committee to look into its workings and restoration.
The Mullaperiyar issue has been a political live wire issue for both the states. While Tamil Nadu had been demanding an increase in the water level in the 116-year-old dam to support its agricultural needs, Kerala had opposed the same over concerns about the safety of the old dam.
The dam site is in Kerala but the reservoir mainly serves Tamil Nadu.
As soon as the news about the adverse SC verdict spread in the Idduki district of Kerala, people took to the streets protesting. The Mullaperiyar Action Council has called a dawn-to-dusk shut-down across Kerala tomorrow (Kerala is known for such frequent agitation).
They claimed that the lives of 40 lakh people will be under threat if the Mullaperiyar dam height is raised.
The Supreme Court quashed the amendments to the Kerala Conservation & Irrigation Act brought in by the Kerala Government in 2006 to restrict the water level to 136 ft after an SC Bench order in February allowing TN to raise it to 142 ft.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha delivered the verdict eight months after hearing in the case was completed. Delivering the verdict, the court said that there was no safety threat to the dam.
The Empowered Committee appointed by the apex court in the issue, had also supported Tamil Nadu’s demand but the Kerala had remained opposed to the plan and had instead demanded that a new dam be built at Mullaperiyar.
Tamil Nadu had challenged the jurisdiction of Kerala in restricting the water level in the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar dam located in Kerala.