The Tamil Nadu government has rejected Kerala’s suggestion to drill a second tunnel in the Mullaperiyar dam at 50 feet.
“The Kerala government’s representative in the Supreme Court-appointed Empowered Committee had made the suggestion of drilling the second tunnel at 50 feet with an intention to keep the water level in the dam at 136 feet. The Tamil Nadu government has not accepted this proposal,” said R. Subramanian, chairman, Cauvery Technical Cell.
He gave the information in a written reply, dated January 18, to a series of petitions submitted to the Chief Minister by A. Tirupathivasagan, secretary of 18 Canal Farmers’ Association, Theni.
While giving a judgment in favour of Tamil Nadu in the dam dispute case in May 2014, the Supreme Court had directed Tamil Nadu to conduct surveys and feasibility studies for a new tunnel, Mr. Tirupathivasagan pointed out.
The court had said that the new tunnel would help Tamil Nadu draw additional water from the dam. At present, a maximum of only 2,300 cusecs can be drawn through the existing tunnel, located at 104 feet.
“The stand of the Tamil Nadu government is that there is no need for a new dam in lieu of the Periyar dam. It also does not want to reduce the level of the tunnel,” Mr. Subramanian said.
“The Tamil Nadu government has been taking all steps to uphold its rights over the dam and also to remove all the obstacles posed by the Kerala government in an appropriate way,” the State government said in its reply to Mr. Tirupathivasagan, who had alleged that Tamil Nadu had lost over 70% of its rights over the dam.
To a query on several buildings and vehicle parking lots encroaching upon the water spread area of the dam, Mr. Subramanian said that a case against the encroachments and parking facilities was pending in the Supreme Court.
Responding to a case filed by an individual from Kerala blaming the water released from the Mullaperiyar dam by the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department for the flood in Kerala in August 2018, Mr. Subramanian said that the Tamil Nadu government had, with sufficient evidence, denied the allegation before the Supreme Court.
Besides, the water level, that was temporarily reduced to 139 feet (from 142 feet) following the SC’s direction during the flood, was restored to 142 feet following the decision taken at the 4th Sub-Committee meeting of the Disaster Management Committee, he said in his reply.