Concerned over safety of people near Mullaperiyar, says SC

Mullaperiyar dam

The Supreme Court has expressed concern over the safety of the people living around Muallaperiyar dam, but told the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments that it would not look into the day-to-day management of the dam.

It asked the counsels of the two states on Tuesday (January 11) to finalise core issues for hearing by the court by February, and set the next hearing of the case for the second week of February.

The court, however, asked the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments to not compel it to get involved in the day-to-day management of the Mullaperiyar Dam, for which there was a committee in place, according to a report.

“The safety of the dam is related to the management of the water level. A committee has already been formed for that… We are not here to do the administration of the dam,” said Justice AM Khanwilkar, according to a report in The Hindu.

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The court’s stern remarks came in response to the Kerala government accusing TN of releasing water in the middle of the night without any prior warning, which would endanger the lives of thousands of people living downstream. It asked the court to direct Tamil Nadu to inform 24 hours before opening the shutters.

The counsel for Tamil Nadu government had told the court that the expert committee and the empowered committee had supported the safety of the dam after extensive study and that the safe storage height of 142 ft was endorsed by the Supreme Court in 2014.

The court had earlier told the states not to approach it to score political brownie points, to treat the Mullaperiyar issue in a dispassionate manner and take decisions in a consensual manner.

The court had told Kerala and Tamil Nadu to not approach the court for every issue regarding the dam, urging them to behave like normal litigants and not use the court as a platform to score political brownie points.

The court had also said that it was up to the supervisory committee to decide on the need for release of water from the dam.

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