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‘Kerala examining legal options on Mullaperiyar’

With water level in the Mullaperiyar dam increasing, the Kerala government is examining legal options to maintain the water level at 136 feet considering the “safety aspect”.

Increase in the water level at the dam has come to the notice of the government and chief secretary himself had visited the dam, Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy told reporters during a Cabinet briefing.

Chandy said Kerala’s demand to maintain the water level at 136-feet has been declined by the Supreme Court-appointed apex committee on Mullaperiyar, but “we are examining legal options to retain out position”. Increase in water level in the 120-year-old dam near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border has caused concern among the people living in the downstream of the dam on Kerala side over the “safety of the dam”.

Tamil Nadu takes water from the reservoir for irrigation purposes in five districts of that state. Water level issue in the dam has been a matter of dispute between the two neighbouring states with Kerala insisting the water level be maintained at 136-feet while Tamil Nadu wants it to be increased to 142-feet.

On May 7 this year, the Supreme Court had held the dam was safe and allowed the Tamil Nadu government to raise the water level to 142-feet and ultimately to 152-feet after completing strengthening measures on the dam.

The apex court had also struck down a law promulgated by Kerala, declaring the dam as endangered and fixing the water level at 136-feet. It had also rejected Kerala’s demand for a new dam in place of the existing one.

The court had also pulled up the Kerala government for enacting a law which overruled its verdict of 2006 by which it had declared the dam safe and allowed the Tamil Nadu authorities to raise the water level.

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