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AN APPEAL
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The Mullal Perlyar Dam is a gravity dam built in 1886

I with stone masonry and lime surkhi concrete. Gravity 895


dams use their weight to resist the water pressure and other external forces like wave pressure , earthquake forces etc. for the reservoir to remain stable. The Periyar Lease deed between the Maharaja of Travancore and Madras Presidency with effect from I .I.I for a period of 886

building the backing concrete , two drainage galleries were

also built at levels of 10 feet and 45 feet in the new structure. With these , water seepage from the dam is
being measured daily.

had reached a maximum of 153.90 feet, 154.80 feet and I feet respectively, as against the designed maximum 52.0 water level of I feet. 55 On February 18, 2010, the Honble Supreme Court
appointed an Empowered Committee to look into vanous aspects excepting legal and constitutional aspects including the validity of the Amendment , 2006 , under the former Chief Justice of India , Dr. A.S. Anand as its Chairman. Tamil Nadu and Kerala appointed two former

It has been proved and established scientifically that a


certain amount of water must leak as seepage from the dam ,if it needs to be safe ,strong and healthy. In fact ,when the water level rises above (FRL) I feet , 52 to safeguard the dam , excess water is discharged by a spill way with 10 vents , each measuring 36x16 ft , which was already there. Using this, 86 ,000 Cuit of water/second can be discharged. Moreover, based on the advice of the Central Water Commission , an extra spilling capacity of 36,000 cu.ft. I second was added by constructing 3 vents measuring 40x16 ft. So, the current spilling capacity of the , dam is approximately I22 ,000 cu. ft/second. Thus ,it is amply clear that the dam is safe and adequate steps have been taken bylamil Nadu to ensure its safety. On 27-2-2006, the Honble Supreme Court of India by itsjudgement permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the water level in the Mullai Periyar Dam initially to 142 feet and carry out the remaining strengthening works. After the strengthening works are completed to the satisfaction of the Central Water Commission , independent experts will examine the safety angle , before the water level is permitted to be raised to I feet. Tothwart this, The Kerala Irrigation and 52 Water Conservation (Amendment) Act 2006 was passed by the Kerala Legislative Asse mbly and the amended Act came into force from 18.3.2006. The maximum water level

999 years was executed on 29.10.1886 for diversion of


waters to the Madras Presidency under Periyar Project. An extent of about 8,000 acres has been given on lease on

payment ofan annual rent of Rs.5/- peracre . Thewaters of the dam irrigate about 2.23 lakh acres in Theni, Dindigul, Madurai , Sivagangai and Ramanathapuram Districts of Tamil Nadu. On 29.5.1970 ,two supplemental agreements were entered into between Kerala and Tamil Nadu; one for increasing the annual lease rent from Rs.51- to Rs.301- per acre and subjecting itto revision every 30 years; and in turn
surrendering the fIshing rights to Kerala and the other permitting Tamil Nadu to generate Hydro electhc power on payment of certain charges to Kerala according to the

Supreme Court Judges from their respective States.


The Empowered Committee is expected to submit its

report to the Honble Supreme Court by February, 2012. The Committee has used and is using the services of the Central Water Commission , Central Water and Power Research Station , Geological Survey of India , Bhabha
Atomic Research Centre and Central Soil and Material Research Station for the different studies and tests ,

conducted at the dam site and in their laboratories.


The human settlements in the area are much above the reach of the flood waters of the Mullaiperiyar Dam and the ldukki Reservoir of Kerala is designed to absorb the flood and to moderate flood up to about 4 ,00 ,000 cubic feet of water per second. In this respect, the Honble Supreme t Court has observed in its order dated 27 February 2006 that it is the case of the State of Kerala that despite the copious rain, the ldukki Reservoir is not filled to its capacity. While the capacity ofthe reservoir is 70.5 tmc., it

quantum of power generated. These were executed as


successors in interest to the Principal Deed of I 886. There are examples in various parts of the world of masonry dams which have been strengthened. The Roosevelt Dam , in Arizona, USA, was built in 1911. In 1980, modifications were designed to meet safety standards and flood control. Its capacity had also been

expanded. The Joux Dam built in France in 1905 was


heightened in 1952 by top concrete section and post

tension anchors. Upper Glendevol is a gravity dam in U.K. and was provided with rock-fill buttress downstream.
The strengthening works carried out in the case of the Mullaiperiyar Dam from 1980 to 1994 on the recommendations of the Chairman of the Central Water Commission are almost similar. In the old dam ,the front and back of the dam were constructed as stone masonry with lime surkhi mortar. The centre of the dam was filled

was filled only to the extent of 57.365 tmc. This also shows
that assuming the worst happens more than 11 tmc water would be taken by ldukki Dam. When the waters reach Idukki Dam ,which is about 50 Kms away, it will have only a

of the Mullaiperiyar Dam was fixed at I feet by this Act. 36


The Suit filed by the Government of Tamil Nadu challenging the Constitutional validity ofthisAmendment is

with lime surkhi concrete. Gravity dams withstand the pressure of water and tremors using their weight. As a short term action, to increase the weight ofthe dam ,21 feet wide , 3 feet thick RCC capping structure was provided on top ofthe dam for its entire length Due to this , the weight of the dam is increased by about 35 tons per metre , ie. a total of I 2000 tons weight has been added to the structure. As a part of medium term action , cable anchoring was also done on the basis of pre-stressing technology. At a distance of 5 feet away from the front face of the dam , on the top ofthe dam ,four inch diameter holes were drilled at 9
.

still pending in the Supreme Court. In October, 2009, in the Supreme Court , while hearing Tamil Nadus petition, a Bench comprising Justices D.K.Jain, Mukundakam Sharma and R.M.Lodha observed if every State in inter-state disputes sought enacting a legislation not to give effect to ourjudgement , it would have serious consequences. When this Court said that Tamil Nadu can raise the water level up to 142 feet , can you
(Kerala) nullify it by enacting a legislation and fixing the water level at 136 feet? it asked Senior Counsel Rajiv Dhawan appearing for the State of Kerala. What is the

velocity of 3 feet per second. It is also reported that when the water level at Mullaiperiyar Dam is 136 feet, the water
spread area is 4678 acres and that if the water is stored to 155 feet , the water spread area will be 8591 acres. Since water has not been stored above I feet for a long time , 36 the water spread area has been encroached upon by land

grabbers in Kerala who have built resorts and other buildings on the lands leased to Tamil Nadu. If the water level is increased from 136 feet , these resorts will get
submerged in water. This is also cited by some as the possible reason for the plea to decommission the

Mullaiperiyar Dam.
There is no valid reason to believe that the Mullai

feet internally along the length ofthe dam up to a depth of 30 feet inside the foundation rock. Inside these holes, 34

sanctity of the Supreme Court if its judgements are not implemented? The Kerala Counsel said the State had to come up with the legislation as it was concerned with the safety of its people. At this, Justice D.K.Jain said:This

Periyar Dam is unsafe. It is unfortunate that a fear psychosis among the people of Kerala is being built up. As the Mullai Periyar Dam is fully safe and as good as new,the
people of Kerala should see through the machinations of vested interests and should feel secure that the retrofitted Mullai Periyar Dam is as good as new and therefore not a

Court is equally concerned with the safety of the people.

numbers of 7 mm diameter high strength steel wires were inserted. These cables were anchored in the foundation rocks. Initially concrete was poured to a depth of 20 feet and then cables were inserted and anchored. From the top a prestressing force of 120 tons was applied and locked. AtAt this stage , concrete mix was poured again to fill the hole and then it was closed at the top. Due to this , these
prestressed cables hold the dam strongly with foundation rocks with a force of 120 tons. 95 such cables were inserted and concrete filled at an interval of 9 feet for the entire length of the dam and strengthened to withstand

various forces including seismic forces. As a long term measure , a 32 feet wide RCC backing concrete with 10 feet
deep foundation up to a height of 145 feet above the ground abutting the cap structure was erected on the back

of the dam. The existing dam and the backing concrete were designed and joined together using state-of-the art technology to behave as a single dam structure. Based on the Central Water Commission s recommendation , while

The Court had taken all the facts and concerns expressed by the two parties before passing the decree. To Kerala s objections to the Central Water Commissions studies , the Court remarked the Central Water Commission is a statutory body. Do not label it with tar. Following this, a Five-Member Constitution Bench was constituted in November,2009. In February, 2010, the Constitution Bench comprising Justices D.K.Jain B.Sudershan Reddy, Mukundakam Sharma , R.M.Lodha and Deepak Verma remarked Your arguments are unfounded, misleading, fallacious and jugglery of words. You should support it with evidence. The Court made these remarks as it was not impressed with Kerala s argument that if the water level of the dam was allowed to be raised beyond 136 feet , itwould lead to
,

threattothe lives and properties ofthe people ofthe region.


I appeal to the People of Kerala not to succumb to any divisive forces in the interest of both the States as we are both committed to maintaining and cherishing cordial

relations.

its collapse endangering public safety as it would

submerge several villages. The Bench had said the


arguments cannot be accepted as even during the three floods witnessed in I , 1943 , and I , the water level 924 961

J JAYALALITHAA
Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

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