On Mullaperiyar Dam, Top Court Raps “Adversarial” Tamil Nadu, Kerala


The flood situation in Kerala is “grave” and it is not the time to be “adversarial”, the Supreme Court has told the government of Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which are battling over discharge of water from Mullaperiyar Dam. Both states “must work together in harmony” the top court said.

Kerala, which considers the water level in the dam to be unsafe, wants Tamil Nadu, which operates it, to safely release the water in small amounts, so there is no overflow and a subsequent deluge downstream. Tamil Nadu – which saw huge floods in state capital Chennai n 2015 because of its overflowing dams – insists the Mullaperiyar Dam is safe.

“Action speaks much faster than what words can convey. Both states have to work together with the centre and there has to be coordination and harmony during disaster,” the top court said.

The court has asked the centre to convene a meeting of National Crisis Management committee and ask it to consider reducing water level in the dam. A disaster management plan also has to be prepared by the panel given to Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments, the court said. The report has to be submitted to the court, which will hear the matter at 2 pm tomorrow.

Shortly after the hearing, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami conveyed to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan that the Mullaperiyar dam is safe.

“The court appointed supervisory committee has found the dam safe to store up to 142 feet… However, water being transferred to Vaigai Dam to the maximum extent, Mr Palaniswami has told Mr Vijayan, sources said.


Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the 130-year-old dam, built under an accord drawn up in 1886 between then Maharaja of Travancore and the British. Under this pact, Tamil Nadu operates the dam.

Kerala has been demanding that the dam — built at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar rivers — has developed leaks and should be de-commissioned.


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