As the Mullaperiyar dam continues to remain a hotbed of contention between Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the two Chief Ministers met to initiate high-level discussions on the issue.
The main agenda of the meeting between Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan and TN CM Edappadi Palaniswami was the sharing of river water between the two states.
The two CMs resolved that discussions will be initiated at the level of the Chief Secretaries to solve the issue amicably and ensure that a warm relationship is maintained between the neighbouring states.
‚ÄúDiscussions between the Chief Ministers will be held later if needed in this regard,‚ÄĚ Pinarayi said in a Facebook post on the meeting.
This is the first meeting between Pinarayi and EPS over the question of river water disputes.
The dam, which was completed in 1895, stands in Kerala‚Äôs Idukki district, but is owned and operated by the Tamil Nadu government. The dispute between Kerala and TN over the dam began in 1979, after leaks were found in the dam. Kerala had since taken the stand that the water level in the dam cannot be raised over 136 feet.
Since 1998, there have been repeated attempts by TN to raise the water level in the dam, which have been blocked by Kerala.
In May 2006, the Supreme Court had allowed TN to raise the water level from 136 to 142 feet. However, the Kerala government then responded by constituting a Dam Safety Authority by law to prevent this.
In 2014, the apex court quashed the Kerala law, declared the 120-year-old dam safe and allowed TN to raise the water level to 142 feet, with the provision that it could be raised further to 152 feet if adequate strengthening measures were undertaken.
In May this year, the court had sought Kerala‚Äôs response after TN claimed that it was not being allowed to maintain the dam.
Besides the Mullaperiyar dam, the two states also have ongoing disputes over the Parambikulam-Aliyar project and the Neyyar river waters.