Tamil Nadu officials on Sunday informed Idukki district authorities that the shutters on the spillway of Mullaperiyar are likely to be opened if the water levels near the 142 ft mark with the present water level being at 141.6 ft.
Manoramaonline reports that the situation is not alarming as only .0.5 ft of the shutters will be opened with the current inflow and outflow of water being 2100 and 2605 cubic feet per second respectively.
However, District Collector V. Ratheesan had cautioned people living on the banks of River Periyar about the situation.
It was only in last week that Kerala Water Resources Minister PJ Joseph spoke in Kerala Assembly about approaching the Supreme Court against Tamil Nadu, for opening eight shutters of the Mullaperiyar Dam without prior intimation on December 7 which led to the evacuation of 200 families from flood-prone areas.
Later, when the water level decreased, the shutters were closed on December 8 early morning, and again three shutters were opened thereafter, as water level increased.
There was widespread furor in Idukki that Tamil Nadu allegedly breached the rules in opening the shutters, as no proper warning or intimation was issued before opening the shutters. As per guidelines given by the Water Resources Commission, TN is supposed to alert Kerala 12 hours ahead of opening the shutters so that settlements near the dam can be relocated in case of any eventuality.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been arguing about the Mullaperiyar dam built under a co-signed agreement in 1886 between the Maharaja of Travancore and the British authorities. The dam, which is located in the Idukki district of Kerala, serves the districts of Tamil Nadu, which owns, operates and maintains it. Though Kerala had objected, in 2014, the Supreme Court allowed the Tamil Nadu government to increase the water level of the Mullaperiyar dam up to a maximum of 142 feet. It was in November 2014 that the water level in the Mullaperiyar reservoir touched the 142-feet mark for the first time in 35 years.