Centre intervenes, eases tension between Kerala, TN over Mullaperiyar Dam (Lead)

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Thiruvananthapuram/Idukki : Following timely intervention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, the mounting tension between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the rising water level in Mullaperiyar Dam and its outflow has been resolved, said Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

Vijayan told the media on Wednesday night that following the heavy rains in and around the catchment areas of the Mullaperiyar Dam for the past few days, the water level has reached 142 feet.

"With the water level rising, the sluice gates of the dam were opened, but the inflow into the dam was higher than the outflow and that was a cause of concern.

"Given the situation, our Chief Secretary spoke to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu. We also brought this to the notice of the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. Soon they intervened and have sorted out the issue and now the outflow and the inflow has become the same," said Vijayan.

Over the years, the Mullaperiyar Dam issue between Kerala and Tamil Nadu has been a bone of contention and it is now before the Supreme Court.

Although the dam is located in Kerala, it serves and is operated by Tamil Nadu, and Kerala has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam which has over the years developed leaks.

On account of the huge rains that hit Idukki in the past one week, in the wee hours of Wednesday around 2.35 a.m, the sluice gates of the dam were opened after the water level touched 142 feet mark.

Incidentally, the route that the water from the Mullaperiyar Dam takes reaches the catchment area of the Idukki dam, which is also overflowing currently.

Tamil Nadu has all along maintained that the dam is safe, and a Supreme Court directive in May 2014 allowed the state to increase the water level from 136 feet to a maximum of 142 feet.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British regime.

With the ongoing downpour in and around Idukki dam, there is anxiety over the way Tamil Nadu would handle the water level in the dam, as they use the waters of the dam using large penstock pipes for irrigating their farmland.