Mullaperiyar dam to be opened on Friday; Kerala is prepared, says minister

Tamil Nadu government has informed that the Mullaperiyar dam will be opened at 7 am on October 29 if the water level in the reservoir does not fall, Kerala Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine said on Wednesday.

“Kerala has already taken necessary arrangements ahead of the dam opening and the state is prepared to deal with it,” the minister wrote on Facebook.

The current water level in the dam is 137.75 feet. The maximum level set by the Central Water Commission for the month is 138 feet.

Augustine said while the water inflow is 3,800 cusecs, Tamil Nadu is drawing 2,300 cusecs of water from the dam.

On Tuesday, Kerala had asked Tamil Nadu to maintain the water level in the dam at 137 feet, considering the flood threat in the state. The Met Department has forecast heavy rain triggered by a low pressure that is expected to form over the Bay of Bengal and a cyclonic circulation over the Arabian Sea.

The apex court had earlier directed the authorities to maintain the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam at 139.9 feet, considering the 2018 flood that had taken several lives and left a trail of destruction in Kerala.

The 126-year-old dam, situated in Idukki district of Kerala but operated by Tamil Nadu, has once again emerged as a source of dispute between the two states with Kerala demanding to lower the water level in the wake of incessant rains in the state for the last few weeks. Social media is rife with concerns over the safety of the dam built across River Periyar.

Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan, on Tuesday, had said “something new needs to be done” in Mullaperiyar as the existing dam there is very old and people are working to reach an amicable settlement on the matter.

On Monday, the Supreme Court had directed all the authorities concerned to interact immediately on an urgent basis on the issue saying it has something to do with lives.