Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mullaperiyar .Why a new dam ?

The present dam in Mullaperiyar was was constructed during the period 1882-1895,at a cost of about Rs 1 Crore.The dam is 366 Metres long,54 Metres high and is at a height of about 882 metres above sealevel.It's full capacity is nearly 45 million cubic metres of water.
The dam is construted by using lime and Surky ( a combination of sugar and lime.).Such a structure can expect a lifespan of only 50-60 years.i.e .the dam has gone beyond this deadline years back.The dam now is in a seismically active zone and it can not withstand an earthquake above 6.0 in the Richter Scale.
Water from rhe dam is diverted with a tunnel to join the Vaigai river and is used by TN for irrigation of vast areas of land in the 5 districts in the Madurai ,Sivaganga,and Ramanathapuram regions.TN generates electricity also from the diverted water.
As the population around the Periyar region increased by the Keralite encroachers the adverse effects became much pronounced.Earthquakes became frequent and people felt insecure.The Kerala govt asked the CESS to study about this and submit a report.Following the report submitted by the CESS,the TN govt lowered the height of the water level from 142.2 FT to 136 Ft.
The present population in the 5 downstream districts of the dam in Kerala is around 40 lakhs.A quake of high intensity can affect the Idukki reservoir too.
Ultimately if some mishap occurs thre, it will lead to an accute shortage of water in the neighbouring districts of TN for a long time.It will perish the economy of Kerala also due to the floods .
So it is in the interest of both TN and Kerala to prepare for a new dam there.But the Kerala Govt should take care to see that the new dam should add to the resources (income ) of the state .The old terms with TN should be revised in that way.
Sqeezing the people of Kerala with huge hikes in water charges and giving millions of Cubic metres of water to TN at throwaway prices is detrimental to the future economy of our state

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