New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday directed Tamil Nadu to keep the water level of Mullaperiyar dam at around a little over 139 feet till August 31.
The Supreme Court's order came a day after Kerala blamed Tamil Nadu for aggravating the flood situation after the release of water from the reservoir.
A Supreme Court-appointed panel said that Tamil Nadu has agreed to keep the water level of the dam at 139.9 feet, instead of the permitted 142 feet.
On Thursday, Kerala told the apex court that the sudden release of water from the Mullaperiyar Dam by the Tamil Nadu government was one of the reasons of floods. However, Tamil Nadu rebutted the charge, saying water was released only on August 16 whereas the floods in Kerala started about ten days earlier.
"We are only concerned with the safety and lives of people," Chief Justice Dipak Mishra told legal officers representing Tamil Nadu. The Supreme Court will take up the case again on September 6.
Earlier, a disaster management sub-committee set up to monitor the water level of Mullaperiyar Dam asked Tamil Nadu to keep water limit of the reservoir 2-3 feet below the 142-feet FRL mark till August 31, a senior official in the Water Resources Ministry said.
The panel comprises of officials from the Centre, including the Water Resources Ministry, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It reviewed the water level of Mullaperiyar Dam following which it asked Tamil Nadu to lower it.
“Keeping in view that rainfall may take place as monsoon is still active, the government of Tamil Nadu was advised that the reservoir may be operated as per he directions given (by the Supreme Court) last week. The level can be kept 2-3 metres below the FRL (Full Reservoir Level) of 142 feet,” the official said.
Taking note of the “grave” flood situation in Kerala, the top court last week ordered the disaster management panel of the Mullaperiyar Dam to urgently decide on lowering the water level by three feet.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier written to his Tamil Nadu counterpart E K Palaniswami seeking lowering of the water-level in the Mullaperiyar Dam in the interest of its safety.