The Tamil Nadu authorities has rebutted allegations made within the Supreme Court that the Supervisory Committee for Mullaperiyar Dam “abdicated its duties” to guage the protection of the construction and water ranges.
The State countered allegations that the Supervisory Committee constituted by the highest courtroom in 2014 has “delegated” its duties to a sub-committee.
The courtroom had in September sought a reply from the State on a petition filed by Joe Joseph and office-bearers of the Kothamangalam block panchayat in Kerala expressing their apprehensions concerning the lack of correct supervision of water ranges within the over-a-century-old dam situated alongside the Periyar Tiger Reserve.
The State defined that the sub-committee is chaired by the Executive Engineer, Central Water Commission (CWC), with headquarters in Kochi. It has members from each Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The sub-committee periodically inspects the dam, collects information on seepage, collects water samples from the lake and seepage water, conducts water high quality exams on them and so forth and experiences the small print to the Supervisory Committee.
“The sub-committee members do not have any powers to give direction to the States. It is only doing the job of collecting information and data pertaining to the dam once in every two months, and if required, more frequently, as per directions of the Chairman of the Supervisory Committee, and furnishing the same to the committee,” the affidavit, filed by advocate M. Yokesh Kanna, mentioned.
The sub-committee is just aiding the Supervisory Committee. This can’t be referred to as the delegation of the authority of the Supervisory Committee, the affidavit argued.
The State mentioned releases from the spillways of the dam are carried out in a scientific method.
“Before operating the spillway gates during flood time, warning would be issued well in advance to the downstream authorities concerned of the State of Kerala before releasing water through the spillway. The answering Respondent (Tamil Nadu) ensures and takes care that no release is made without any warning, and sudden releases are not made through the spillway. The releases are made in steps so as not to cause any problem to the people who are living downstream of the dam,” the affidavit mentioned.
It mentioned all of the points with regard to the dam security and optimum utilisation of water to fulfill the ingesting water wants and irrigation wants of 5 drought-prone districts of Tamil Nadu are being carefully monitored.
“The Supervisory Committee duly assisted by the sub-committee are monitoring the system with reference to all safety aspects of the dam,” the affidavit mentioned.
Tamil Nadu mentioned it has been unable to gather rainfall information within the catchment space of the dam unfold throughout 601 sq. km. on the tiger reserve in Idukki district of Kerala.
For forecasting the influx from the catchment of the Mullaperiyar Dam, computerized rainfall stations coupled with telemetry system within the catchment space should be put in. In that space, just one rain gauge station fitted with a weekly chart was obtainable. Even in that, Tamil Nadu was not allowed to gather rainfall information and to alter the rainfall chart within the gear by the Forest Department of Kerala, since 2014.
In a Supervisory Committee assembly in 2015, Kerala had knowledgeable about its plans to put in a rainfall forecasting system in six months to permit information movement to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and CWC.
“However, till date, such forecasting system has not been installed by State of Kerala,” the affidavit mentioned.