Representational image
Representational image

New Delhi: Kerala has got embroiled in an inter-state row with the state blaming massive floods that have claimed the lives of 373 people on the Tamil Nadu government and its refusal to lower the water level in the Mullaperiyar dam.

The Kerala government has said that the state’s Water Resources Secretary had written to her counterpart in Tamil Nadu, pleading for controlled release of water.  But no positive assurance in this regard was received from Tamil Nadu, even after repeated requests. The sudden release from the Mullaperiyar dam, the third largest reservoir in the Periyar Basin, forced Kerala to release more water from the Idukki reservoir, downstream of Mullaperiyar, which was one of the causes of the deluge, the affidavit adds.

Although the dam is located in Kerala, it serves and is operated by Tamil Nadu, and Kerala has for long been demanding de-commissioning of the dam which has over the years developed leaks. The affidavit also states that the Kerala government kept managing the situation by allowing a major portion of flood waters to escape into the sea.

The state government has also said that to avoid a repeat of such situations, a Supervisory Committee be headed by the Chairman of the Central Water Commission with Secretaries of both the states as members. This panel should be empowered to take decisions by a majority opinion regarding operations during flood or any similar crisis, it said.

The affidavit was filed in pursuance to August 18 direction of the apex court which had asked the Kerala Chief Secretary to show the steps they had taken to meet the needs of disaster management, rescue operations and rehabilitation. Kerala resident Russel Roy had filed a plea seeking, among other things, a direction to Tamil Nadu to manage the water level in the dam as the floods in Kerala have created a havoc.

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