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Mullaperiyar dam safe : T.N.

Seismographic instruments to warn about earthquakes are to be installed soon

The Mullaperiyar dam is protected from earthquakes and is hydrologically safe, the Tamil Nadu government has assured the Supreme Court.

Countering Kerala’s allegations of non-cooperation and lack of concern about the safety of the 126-year-old dam, Tamil Nadu accused Kerala of "obstructionist attitude".

The State said the installation of instruments to protect the dam structure and warn about dangers to the earth dam and the baby dam has been in limbo since 2015. This is solely because the Kerala Forest Department has refused permission to cut 23 trees.

Hearing on March 2

A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar on Friday adjourned the hearing of the case to March 2. The Centre agreed to file a response on the spat between the two States over the maintenance and safety of the dam.

In an affidavit, Tamil Nadu said seismographic instruments suggested by expert bodies such as the Central Water Commission and National Geophysical Research Institute to warn about earthquakes are "proposed to be installed soon".

"It is pertinent to point out here that the dam is found to be safe against earthquakes," Tamil Nadu said.

Noting that the dam has been found to be hydrologically safe, Tamil Nadu said the dam is "designed to route Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) discharge of 2.12 lakh cusecs fixed by the CWC and found to be safe for that flood condition".

"The Maximum Water Level [MWL] of the dam is +155 ft, against the maximum permitted storage level of +142 ft," Tamil Nadu said in its affidavit.

The State further complained that Kerala has since 2014 obstructed it from collecting rainfall data from the Mullaikodi rainfall station, which is the only rainfall station in the catchment. Tamil Nadu contended that the reports relied on by Kerala to accuse Tamil Nadu of negligence were over two decades old and outdated. In January, Kerala had accused Tamil Nadu of adopting an "obsolete" gate operation schedule, which dates back to 1939, at the dam.

Kerala affidavit

In its affidavit, Kerala had informed the court of the Central Water Commission (CWC) inspection report which said that 70% of the installed instruments for monitoring the safety and health of the dam was not working properly. It said Tamil Nadu was yet to install the two seismoaccelerographs recommended to monitor tremors.

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