For the last two days, people in Idukki district and those living downstream of the Periyar river have been living in a state of fear with rumours abound that the Mullaperiyar dam, which had reached the Full Reservoir Level of 142 feet had developed cracks. Such messages warning people of dire consequences if the dam cracks have added to the panic to such an extent that the Kerala government has issued warning to rumour mongers.
In a letter written by the Secretary to Kerala Government (Water resources) to the Director General of Police (DGP) Loknath Behara, the government has asked the police Cyber Cell to trace the source of such rumours and take action.
"Rumours are being spread in social media like whatsapp, facebook etc. that the Mullaperiyar Dam has developed some cracks. This rumour is completely baseless and the Dam has not developed any cracks as alleged. These rumours are creating unnecessary panic among people living in the downstreams in the Periyar catchment. The Cyber Cell is directed to trace the source of these rumours and take immediate action against the rumour mongers," read the letter.
The water levels at the Mullaperiyar dam have been a point of contention between the Tamil Nadu and the Kerala governments. The Kerala Chief Minister had shot off a letter to his TN counterpart alleging that TN engineers were not being cooperative and that the water levels should have been brought down much earlier.
While Kerala's concern is that the water level has been allowed to stay at 142 feet, which may cause damage downstream, the TN CM has said that the dam is safe.
Meanwhile the Supreme Court agreed to hear an urgent plea on Thursday afternoon, and then ordered the National Crisis Management Committee to meet on Friday and file a report. It adjourned the matter to 2 pm on Friday.