IIT report supports Kerala stand on Mullaperiyar

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New Delhi, Jul 1 (UNI) Strengthening the demand of Kerala for constructing a new structure in place of the 113-year-old Mullaperiyar dam, a study by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi, has found that the existing old dam is hydrologically unsafe, thereby questioning the contention of neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

"The demand of Kerala to have a new dam is genuine and logical," said the report of the study by the IIT team, consisting of eminent hydrologists Dr A K Gosain and Dr Subash Chander.

Kerala Irrigation Minister N K Premachandran released the IIT report at a news conference here.

He said the report would form part of the documents being submitted by the Kerala Government before the Supreme Court, before which the contentious case involving Kerala and neighbouring Tamil Nadu, has been pending.

The apex court had asked both the states to file documents in support of their stand before July 14.

"The IIT report will further strengthen the stand of Kerala to have a new dam in Mullaperiyar," Mr Premachandran told mediapersons.

Tamil Nadu has been opposed to construction of a new dam and wanted the level of the existing Mullaperiyar dam to be raised to 142 ft.

Kerala, however, has been opposing any increase in the level of the dam beyond 136 ft and wants a new dam to be constructed in place of the 113-year-old structure which had lived its life.

Kerala's concern was that any breach in the dam would submerge at least five districts downstream.

"It is concluded that Mullaperiyar dam is hydrologically unsafe for the estimated Probable Maximum Flood (PMF)and existing spillway capacity," the report said.

Citing the data of the International Commission for Large Dams (ICOLD), the report said 40 per cent of dam failures in the world had occurred due to flood and inadequate spillway capacity of handling them.

"Any compromise on the estimation of PMF is a compromise in the safety of the lives and properties of lakhs of people living downstream of this dam," it said, adding that it was imperative that a proper estimation of PMF of Mullaperiyar dam and its effects on the safety of this centurion structure be studied to properly assess the situation.

UNI PMD/SH AKJ VC1844

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