Kochi, Dec 15: Kerala Government today submitted in the high court that a new dam has to be built across Mullaperiyar river saying there was an imminent threat of collapse of the 116-year old existing reservoir, over which the state is at loggerheads with Tamil Nadu.
In a 60-page statement filed on a batch of petitions over the issue, the government also pleaded that the water level in the dam should be reduced to 120 feet to minimise the threat of collapse and to reduce casualty in case of such an eventuality.
The statement was filed by Special Government Pleader Tom K Thomas before a division bench comprising acting chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice P R Ramachandra Menon hearing the petitions, including that of CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanandan, on the apprehensions with regard to the safety of the dam.
When the petitioners complained that no effective action for disaster management was being taken by the government and even the statement did not speak about effective measures taken or to be taken, the court said, “The government is not positively acting. They are only responding positively.”
The government said the dam is not safe even for a water level of 136 feet and strengthening measures carried out has little impact.
“It is not logical to assume that the strengthening measures would ensure the stability of the structure for the remaining 883 years of the 999 year lease period (with Tamil Nadu),” it said.
The statement explained the 18 decisions taken by the state Disaster Management Authority and said a ‘dam break analysis' study by a team from IIT Rourkee is underway.
The bench directed all the petitioners, including Achuthanandan, who had sought remedial measures to prevent any disaster, should place their suggestions, if any, before the court by January 10 for consideration of the government.
Opposing Kerala's move for a new dam, Tamil Nadu has been maintaining that the existing structure is safe with the strengthening measures having been carried out.