Mullaperiyar Dam is not Safe, Says UN University Study Report . The dam is located in an earthquake-prone area, and small earthquakes in 1979 and 2011 caused cracks. Leakage in the barrier is also a concern, and the technology used for construction 125 years ago is obsolete compared to current construction regulations. According to the report, 35 lakh people in Kerala will be affected if the dam collapses.
Dams including Mullaperiyar due to continuous heavy rains, flash floods and landslides in districts including Idukki Security concerns are rising again at UN University.
The Institute for Water, Environment and Health has published a report on the safety threats of the world’s oldest dams. The study looked at older dams in India, the US, France, Canada, Japan, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The report includes disputes and legal battles between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the Mullaperiyar Dam, built in 1895. Its lifespan counted at 50 years—the move to de-commission made following the dam’s collapse. However, the dispute between the two states continues. Kerala claims that the water level should be lower for fear of the dam collapsing, and Tamil Nadu disagrees. According to the report, Kerala demanded a new barrier in 2009, but Tamil Nadu opposed it. The security threat of Mullaperiyar has been examined based on earlier studies.
Other Findings in the UN University Study Report
More than 10,000 dams in the world are ten years old, and many are approaching 100 years. China, India, Japan and South Korea account for 55% (32,716) of the world’s dams. The average lifespan of dams is 50 years. The 50-year lifespan of 1,115 dams in India will end by 2025, and the 4,250 dams will expire in 2050. Sixty-four barriers will be 150 years old by 2050. The construction of dams has been declining for the last 40 years.
Will there be a New Dam?
The Government of Kerala is moving ahead with discussions on the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar. Minister Roshy Augustine had recently informed the Assembly that meetings would be held soon at the Chief Minister and Secretary levels. Discussions were held at the Chief Secretary Level and Secretary-level as part of the earlier CM level discussions. The construction of the new dam will ensure water for agriculture and other purposes in districts including Theni and Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu. Environmental impact assessment is in progress. Permission from the Forest and Environment Departments is also required. The Mullaperiyar Dam, built-in 1896, leaked dangerously in 1977. The Surki mixture was heavily soaked, and the dam was in danger. Later, despite the opposition of Tamil Nadu. Thirty boreholes drilled, and samples were collected to check the rock solidity at the dam’s site. Pragati Consultancy in Andhra Pradesh appointed to conduct the EIA, but the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has refused permission. After getting permission to study at the end of the legal battle, the Pachanga team returned from a preliminary visit in 2019, but unfortunately, no further ahead.
Tamil Nadu in opposition
Tamil Nadu is strongly opposed to Kerala’s move to build a new Mullaperiyar dam. Tamil Nadu wants the existing barrier to be strong and raise the water level from 142 to 152 feet. Tamil Nadu has allocated funds to strengthen the Baby Dam to raise the water level. But they argue that Kerala is creating an obstacle. The court ruled that the decision on the new dam should be taken only by the two states. Officials in Tamil Nadu say that Kerala is violating this. Kerala has written to Tamil Nadu several times seeking permission but has not received a reply. Earthquakes Occasional in the catchment areas of the Mullaperiyar Dam. A magnitude 2.3 earthquake shook the region last July. The quake struck at 8.50 pm and 9.02 pm. After a loud noise like thunder, the windows of the buildings shook, the doors shook, and the utensils fell to the ground. The movement started at 8.50 and lasted for 5 seconds.
Parliamentary committee calls for more Dams
The Parliamentary Standing Committee had recently suggested that the construction of more dams in Kerala should do by the Ministry of Water and Energy in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests and Environment. The committee had asked the Ministry of Water Power to play a constructive and honest mediator between Kerala and Tamil Nadu in the Mullaperiyar issue after the state government informed the delegation that there was pressure from the environmental lobby to build more dams in Kerala. Direct interventions should resolve the Mullaperiyar issue and suggest that the steps taken reported to the Parliamentary Committee.
‘Allow to live’; A Flood of Requests on Stalin’s Facebook Page
With the rising water level in the Mullaperiyar dam, the flow of Malayalee with the request on the Facebook page of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin. The recommendations are with the hashtags’ Decommissioning’ of Mullaperiyar Dam and saving the lives of the people of Kerala.
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