The Supreme Court told Tamil Nadu to “scrupulously comply” the directions of the committee to reduce the water level in the dam.

SC suggests Mullaperiyar levels to be lowered orders crisis management body to meet
news Mullaperiyar Dam Friday, August 17, 2018 - 13:28

The Supreme Court on Friday said that the sub-committee must examine and find a way, if possible, to reduce the water level of the Mullaperiyar Dam to 139ft and ensure that it doesn’t cross the threshold. 

This came after a private person filed a plea with the apex court and asked for an urgent hearing on Thursday. He sought the announcement of a Disaster Management Plan and the water levels of the dam to be monitored by Tamil Nadu.

"The Sub-Committee constituted under Section 9 of The Disaster Management Act, 2005 along with National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) should hold a meeting, sometime tomorrow in the morning, with the competent authorities of the States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu," said the court. 

"An effort has to be made by the Committees to see if there can be a possibility of bringing down the water level, at least to 139 ft., so that the people staying in the downstream of the dam do not remain in the constant fear," it added. 

Adding that the court will not interfere in the decision of the sub-committee, since it an expert body, it said that the National Crises Management Committee is at liberty to issue instructions to the State of Kerala as regards rescue operation/ rehabilitation and such measures shall be unhesitatingly taken by the state of Kerala. It also said that the decision taken with regard to bringing down of the water level shall be scrupulously obeyed by the State of Tamil Nadu. 

The court commended Kerala’s efforts to combat the crisis, but also asked the Kerala Chief Secretary to file an affidavit on the steps the state has taken to mitigate the crisis, and said that the state must follow the instructions issued by the National Crisis Management Committee for rescuing and rehabilitating people.

Meanwhile, the Centre said that the situation was being monitored by the Cabinet Secretary.

The sub-committee comprises of the Secretary (Border Management) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Secretaries of the departments of Agriculture and Cooperation, Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries, Drinking Water Supply, Expenditure (Ministry of Finance), Food and Public Distribution, Health, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Planning Commission, Ministry of Power, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Rural Development, Ministry of Water Resources and the Joint Secretary (DM) of the Ministry of Home Affairs, as the Member Secretary.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote a letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart Edappadi Palaniswami on Wednesday, urging him to ensure that the outflow from Mullaperiyar dam is more than the inflow, thereby bringing the level of water down to 139 ft. The dam is located in Kerala, but it is controlled and operated by the Tamil Nadu government.

Calling for EPS's intervention, Pinarayi Vijayan urged his counterpart to ensure that the outflow of water from the dam is more than the inflow, in order to 'steadily bring down the water level to a safer 139 feet.'

The catchment of Mullaperiyar Dam has been receiving torrential rainfall since early morning of 14th August, 2018 resulting in the water level in the dam rising steadily from 136.1 feet at 6 am of August 14 to 140 feet at 2.40 am of August 15, the letter said. The water level also reached 142 ft. 

On Thursday, the TN CM replied to Pinarayi that the dam was completely safe in all aspects and that the TN govt is maintaining water level at 142 ft, as per 2014-order of the Supreme Court. He also stated that the TN authorities are managing the water outflow from the dam, so as to ensure that the water level in Mullaperiyar does not exceed 142 ft.

On Thursday night, Pinarayi said that the TN government was cooperating well following the Prime Minister’s intervention.

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